Picturing God on Campus: Fairfield University

Muslim Prayer Service, Inter Faith Chapel, Fairfield University
Students praying at a Muslim prayer service at Fairfield University. Having the prayer service on campus “really makes me feel accepted,” says Bayan Abunar ’14, vice president of the Muslim Students Association. “And I like that others come to see and understand what the service is about.” This spring, Campus Ministry also held the University’s first Islam Awareness Week, with speakers, films, and entertainment, culminating with a Friday (Jummah) prayer and picnic.

“Fairfield University celebrates all faiths on campus. There are services not just for Roman Catholics but Jewish students and Muslim students, among other religions.”

Fairfield University’s Kabbalat Shabbat services
The 60 or so students and community members at an April 1 service were by turns somber and joyful as they gathered to worship in a chapel located in the former Jesuit residence on Bellarmine Road. There were candles, some singing, and the occasional subdued laughter typical of most informal services. But while there was a priest in attendance, he was not up on the altar but sitting in the first row. Rabbi James Prosnit was leading this worship: one of Fairfield University’s first Kabbalat Shabbat services.
VP for Mission and Identity and students at Muslim Prayer Service, Fairfield University
Rev. Gerald Blaszczak, SJ, Fairfield University’s vice president for Mission and Identity, with students at the Muslim prayer service. “Jesuit universities should be places where people on campus notice and appreciate the religious diversity that exists,” says Fr. Blaszczak. “We are better off if religious people of all traditions share in a conversation about the religious roots of morality and responsibility. One of my goals, building on the significant work of my predecessor, (the Rev.) Jim Bowler, SJ, is to promote a campus environment which is integrally religious and faithful to its traditions in deed, worship, and thinking—while becoming diverse and alive with new religious energies.”

Photos by Jean Santopatre. Submitted by Fairfield University.

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