2010-05-26 / Features

Immaculate Conception Church Hosts Religion Lectures

The flyer announcing the Christianity and Islam lecture series at Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, Astoria. The flyer announcing the Christianity and Islam lecture series at Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, Astoria. Immaculate Conception Church, at 21-47 29th St., recently hosted a three-part series on Christianity and Islam. The purpose of the series was to promote good will between the two religious groups by bringing a greater understanding to the Christian community of a religion that is more and more present in Astoria, according to the Reverend Msgr. Fernando Ferrarese, pastor of the Roman Catholic church.

The first evening, with the theme, “The Call to Worship: Basics of the Islamic Tradition”, took place April 27. On May 4, “The Five Pillars of Islam and their Christian Parallels” was featured, and on May 11, approximately 75 attendees took in a presentation entitled, “Jesus and Mary in the Qur’an”. The series was presented by Professor Patrick Ryan, S.J., a Jesuit and the McGinley Professor of Religion and Society at Fordham University.

Some of the highlights of Ryan’s lecture from the final session included his assertions that Mary is the only woman given a personal name in the Qur’an, and that her name appears 34 times. The Annunciation is mentioned, as is the birth of Jesus and his first words. The holy book of Islam also includes a denial that the Jewish people killed Jesus, as well as a confirmation of Jesus’ resurrection. Additionally, Ryan explained, Muhammad is understood as a prophet, like Moses, and Jesus prophesied the coming of Muhammad. Ryan also reported that Muslims consider Mary, the mother of Jesus, a sinless person and tend to be devoted to her as a spiritual entity.

Ryan is the author of three books and numerous articles, and is an expert on Muslim and Christian relations. He holds a doctorate in comparative history of religion from Harvard and for 26 years worked as a teacher and academic administrator in West Africa. He recently served as Fordham University Vice President for University Mission and Ministry.

–Georgina Young-Ellis

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