Inter-Faith Alliance Welcomes Pope Francis

In a letter released Friday afternoon, members of the El Paso and Southern New Mexico Inter-Faith Alliance announced their intent to welcome Pope Francis together.

The group, via their webpage explains, “We are a group of religious leaders in El Paso and Southern New Mexico dedicated to futhering interfaith dialogue among our various faiths.  We meet once a month to share together and to be educated around various interfaith issues.  We also organize interfaith prayer services and activities in the El Paso area.”

Below is their letter to all residents of the Borderland:

We, the El Paso and Southern New Mexico Inter Faith Alliance, representatives of the diverse and vibrant faith traditions of the borderlands, welcome His Holiness Pope Francis to the El Paso and Ciudad Juárez Border area.

At a time when our world seems overcome by fear and violence, Pope Francis comes to us as a spiritual pilgrim of mercy and peace. We stand in need of moral voices that call us to our better selves, to deeper solidarity, and to a firmer commitment to build a better world. Pope Francis has powerfully denounced the indifference that divides us, and awakened the conscience of women and men of all faiths to work together to promote a genuine culture of encounter.

We unite our voices with Pope Francis in defending the dignity of every person, especially the poor, the vulnerable and the migrant. With Pope Francis, we affirm the gifts and contributions migrants make to our communities and to our nation.

We can no longer remain indifferent to the refugee fleeing torture, violence, hunger and poverty.

We pray that Pope Francis’ visit will show the world the peaceful co-existence of the Border’s peoples, cultures, and faith communities. We hope that the Pope’s historic pilgrimage to our borderlands will encourage and confirm us in our work to build a border that is a place of encounter for greater peace, tolerance and understanding.

Rev. Deborah Clugy Soto, United Church of Christ

Msgr. Arturo J. Bañuelas, St. Mark Catholic Church

Norma Bustillos, President, Sathya Sai Baba Center of El Paso, TX

Gerard De Vaca, Member Sathya Sai Baba Center of El Paso, ICEP Hindu Temple

Diana Johnson, Zen Buddhist Both Sides/No Sides Zendo, Las Cruces NM

Rev. Robert E. Mosher, Columban Mission Center

Rev. Peter Kapenga, Peace Lutheran Church

Issa Ali Khlaye, President Islamic Center of El Paso

Dr. Sobha Podila, President Southwest Hindu Temple of El Paso

Rabbi Ben Zeidman, Rabbi of the Reformed Jewish Community

Dr. Nosrat Heidarian,  Báhá’í Faith

Pastor Jeff St. Clair, New Hope Lutheran Church, ELCA

Sabri Agachan, Director of Dialogue Institute

Bobby Kankin Byrd-Sensei, Zen Buddhist Priest Both Sides/No Sides Zendo

Rev. Denny O’Mara, Columban Mission Center

Pastor David Morrison, Desert Rain Community, Chaparral, NM

Rev. Carlos Clugy Soto, Presbyterian Church

Rev. Jennifer Fox, Presbyterian Church USA

Barbara Elerick, Southwest Hindu Temple of El Paso

Rev. Jose A. Morales, Holy Spirit Catholic Church

Dylan Corbett, Hope Border Institute

Jim Tolbert, Society of Friends

Rabbi Stephen Leon, Congregation B’nai Zion