May 11, 2023 // Diocese

Prayer Breakfast in South Bend Brings People of All Faiths Together

United Religious Community of St. Joseph County Board President Chuck Lamphier spoke at the organization’s annual Prayer Breakfast, held this year at the Discovery Ballroom of the Century Center in South Bend on Thursday, May 4, as part of the National Day of Prayer and the URC’s 50th Anniversary.

Lamphier talked about how the organization is celebrating recent efforts to serve 36 Afghan refugees and how they are looking forward to serving 55 Ukrainians with their 160 volunteers. He also said they have provided more than $1 million to approximately 200 area families since the beginning of the pandemic.

On behalf of the mayor of South Bend, Project Manager Allie Dolz-Lane welcomed those present and thanked them for their refugee efforts.

Phil Niswonger
Father Edward “Monk” Malloy, CSC, speaks at the United Religious Community of St. Joseph County’s Annual Prayer Breakfast at the Discovery Ballroom of the Century Center in South Bend on Thursday, May 4.

Karl Smith of radio station WVPE also spoke, and gave an overview of their “One Small Step” program, which according to their website, is an initiative that brings strangers with different political beliefs together for a conversation — not to debate politics — but to get to know each other as people. He said that cooperative interfaith dialogue was needed for constructive social improvements and “molding prayer into action.”

Representatives from Christ the King Catholic Church, the Islamic Society of Michiana, Sunnyside Presbyterian Church, Baha’i, and the Jewish Federation gave prayers and reflections.

Father Edward “Monk” Malloy, C.S.C., was the keynote speaker at the annual Prayer Breakfast.

Father Malloy is President Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame, serving 18-years as its president from 1987 to 2005. He has been involved in ecumenical social justice nearly all his life and continues as a professor at the University of Notre Dame in their Department of Theology.

Father Malloy grew up in what he calls a “Catholic ghetto” in Washington, D.C. As a youth at St. Anthony Grade School, he wondered why not all kids were in Catholic schools. He continued on at Archbishop Carroll High School and played with distinction on their basketball team, winning an athletic scholarship to Notre Dame. But since he was not a starter, he found more time to be involved in university life, which led him to his social justice and ecumenical concerns. He later earned a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in Christian Ethics.

Father Malloy said his greatest achievement was the establishment of the Center for the Homeless in South Bend where he was able to involve many faith communities to achieve success. He also increased his ecumenical awareness as he inherited the mission from his predecessor, Father Ted Hesburgh, the Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem, Israel, where after three trips to the Holy Land, he realized the challenges of different religions. He began to understand the similarities and differences, the history and antagonisms, of the People of the Book — Jewish, Islamic, and Christian.

Father Malloy was later able to visit the future Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey (1991-2002), and there appreciated more the ecumenical nature of international peace. Father Malloy said, “We need to be agents of peace in the world. Yet, as we remain faithful to our Christian tradition, we still can be internationally welcoming by the fruits of prayer, study, and common endeavors.”

Continuing his interest in social justice, he reflected on Matthew 25 which encourages a respond to people’s basic needs. Father Malloy also served on the local boards of Robinson Learning Center, Our Lady of the Road, Hope Mission, Girls and Boys Clubs of America, Habitat for Humanity, Logan Industries, Hannah’s House, the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, and St. Margaret House, among others. He thanked the URC for its commitment to social justice and ecumenism.

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