Aug 14, 2013- On the occasion of the first Interfaith Youth Ice cream Social, Imam Ghazvini and Bishop Ochoa conducted a joint prayer* at St. Paul Newman Center. Imam Ghazvini, the spiritual leader of ICCF mentioned: ‘As people from various religious backgrounds we need to be a sign to the world that life is good and beautiful. It is good and beautiful because it comes from God. Many people in today’s world are rushed on from one change to the next, many times finding a sense of emptiness and no hope. We must tell the world that God is love and forgiveness. Even when we fall short in our personal lives, we must trust that God is always there to welcome us back. If we truly believe and profess that God is All-powerful, we need to trust and hope that he will heal us from our wounds in life. There is nothing in this life that God cannot heal. By ourselves we are incapable, but with God we are limitless. Dear young people, we are fortunate to live in a country where we can express our freedom of religion. Freedom is a basic part of human life. However, we need to have a proper understanding of freedom. In our culture today, we think we are free and only ourselves when we follow our own will. Freedom never means doing what we want at the expense of hurting others. It may sometimes feel that God is the opposite of our freedom. We need to be
free from Him, so we think, and only then will we be free. This is the fundamental lie found throughout history, it is the fundamental lie the spoils life. When we set ourselves against God, we set ourselves against the truth of our own being, and consequently do not become
free, but we become strangers to ourselves. We are free only when we stand in the truth of our own being, when we are united with God. When your will is united to God’s will you truly become your truest self!”
Bishop continued by stating: “Dear young people, you might not realize it, but you bring tremendous hope to us. Your energy and optimism is a boost of freshness. Even though the world we live in today may seem confusing and difficult, please let me tell you that we love you and are cheering for your success and happiness in your lives. Sometimes, you might feel frustrated at school or home. However, remember this fact: you are our world’s future, we need you, we want you to be happy. Always keep God close to your hearts and minds and he will show you the way. Your life is not a random act of chance. You are willed and desired by God. Discover your talents and gifts and use those talents and gifts to create a better world. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” When you give and are generous to God and others, you do not lose anything, you gain a hundred-times over.”
At the end they prayed ; “May we be constantly reminded that we all belong to a loving God. May we remind the world that there is no need to fear the future; for the future is ours, because it belongs to God.”
The evening followed by an interfaith quiz, water games and ice-cream topping.
*parts of the prayer are taken from Vatican II documents and Church Officials. Specific reference documentation can be provided upon request.