Students experience other faiths

Seniors+Catherine+Cole+and+Madison+Winston+fulfilled+the+requirements+for+their+religion+final+by+attending+a+service+at+a+local+mosque.+

Megan Beh

Seniors Catherine Cole and Madison Winston fulfilled the requirements for their religion final by attending a service at a local mosque.

Sarah Karels, Staff Writer

The requirements for Andrew Phaff’s World Religions final were a bit unconventional compared to the normal test or in-class essay. On Sunday, Dec. 16 Phaff and some of his peers spent the day at the Watt Munisota Buddhist Temple in Hampton, Minn, learning the worship practices of the Cambodian monks.

“It was really cool, we got to go into one of the meditation rooms and meditate under the statues…Definitely better than math or science and it was really interesting,” Phaff said.

For this final, students focus on one of the religions covered in the course, such as Islam, Primal Religious Traditions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Judaism, or another option like Baha’i or Eckankar. “The final project requires students to go to a non-Christian worship service or learning session. Afterwards they create a multi-media project that describes their experience,” World Religions teacher, Ms. Meagher said.

The goal is to realize that all the ‘world’ religions we cover are present right here in the Metro area.”

— Mrs. Meagher

With the goal of getting students out of the classroom and into the real world, this final project offers a unique look at cultures sometimes overlooked by students. “It’s stuff we haven’t learned before…this is stuff you encounter in real life but don’t really know about, so it’s sort of the background to stuff you’ll actually use,” senior Catherine Cole said.

Working in her group of four other students, Cole attended a religious service at the Masjid An-Nur Mosque in Minneapolis. “It was really interesting, we had a woman help us put on the headscarves and we sat in the back and they spoke in Arabic and quoted the Quran,” Cole said.

Senior Andrew Phaff, who attended a Buddhist service for his project, documented his experience at the temple on Instagram.
Senior Andrew Phaff, who attended a Buddhist service for his project, documented his experience at the temple on Instagram.

The purpose of the class is to enlighten students to the various faith traditions around them. “Learning about traditions other than your own can help you appreciate your own faith, become more tolerant of others and understand the similarities of peoples’ faith journeys,” Ms. Meagher said. “The other reason this class is important is because we are called as Catholic Christians to enter into meaningful dialogue with non-Christian faiths.”

By starting conversations, the final has succeeded in its intended purpose of educating students. “It was a cool experience, it got me talking like with my friends, with my parents about it all,” Cole said.

“The goal is to realize that all the ‘world’ religions we cover are present right here in the Metro area,” Ms. Meagher said.