Interfaith Prayer Service stresses shared values

The Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart community joined area representatives of the Hindu, Islamic and Jewish faiths to celebrate values they share during an interfaith prayer service Jan. 21 at the all-girls college prep high school in Lake Forest. Following an opening prayer and brief remarks in the school’s chapel, students, faculty and staff participated in four sessions focusing on how each faith traditionally approaches prayer.

Pundit Anil Joshi Ji from the Hindu Mandir of Lake County in Grayslake led the session on Hindu prayer practices. Elsewhere, Imam Azfar Uddin, Saleha Samdani and Rayyan Talha from the Islamic Foundation North in Libertyville provided insights into the Islamic faith. And Rabbi Ike Serotta from Makom Solel Lakeside in Highland Park discussed practices of Judaism.

The fourth session allowed Woodlands Academy students to participate in the Buddhist tradition of Mandala. They did so by gathering in small groups at several workstations in the school’s dining room. Working in silence to maintain respect and reverence, students created mandalas. These Buddhist devotional images often are deemed a diagram or symbol of an ideal universe. They generally represent the spiritual journey through layers from outside to the inner core.  

Woodlands Academy is an independent Catholic day-and-boarding school for young women of all faiths in grades nine through 12. Its Interfaith Prayer Service, held approximately every other year, typically honors several of the faith traditions represented at the school. The event is organized by the school’s campus ministry team.