They sat together and celebrated together. The reason? The fact that they’re working together.

A party last week celebrated 5 years since the signing of a document – the agreement of understanding and cooperation. It’s signed by members of the Rochester Catholic Diocese and members of the Islamic Center of Rochester – including Father J. Patrick O’Connor and Dr. Muhammad Shafiq who explains what the agreement is meant to do.

Dr. Muhammad Shafiq said, “Opening the doors to one another, understanding, building relations through dialogue, thru lecture series, thru seminars, thru community meetings, thru dinners, thru many, many other things.”

Fr. J. Patrick O’Connor said, “Just turn on a news broadcast anytime and you get a very good reason. We really don’t have a choice I don’t think in building dialogue with other religions.”

And building a dialogue has led to actual building. The Habitat for Humanity House on Orange Street in Rochester was built together by members of the local Muslim, Catholic and Jewish communities and was dedicated just a couple of months ago.

Bishop Clark said, “It’s been very important and a great consolation. I think in these tense times when its so easy to characterize other groups or stereotype then in negative ways to have a visible, practical relationship with another group like that I really treasure that.”


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