Interfaith Service Challenge

Celebrate Spring


“Celebrate Spring,” is an annual gathering in which UIW students, faculty, and friends have hosted refugee families to have fun, make new friends, and learn of many cultures and religions. Easter, Passover, Holi, and Narouz are remembered.  Read about these gatherings in the past and consider helping with the celebration on Good Friday.



“Celebrate Spring 2016” in the Logos

About “Celebrate Spring in 2015” described in 2016 

2013 celebration - 2012 celebration - 2010 celebration



imageEnjoy a delightful evening of film, meeting new friends, sharing food and conversation, interfaith dialogue, and opportunities to visit both a mosque and a church on September 13, 2013.

The film, IN THE FOOTPRINTS OF FRANCIS AND THE SULTAN shares a little-known story of the Fifth Crusade in 1219. St. Francis of Assisi and Sultan Malek Al-Kamil engaged in dialogue which eventually led to peace. Their example is an invitation to us to join in respectful dialogues with people of different faiths and cultures.

September 13, 2013, 5:30 pm Registration, displays, 6 to 9 p.m. Program Begins at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church Parish Hall, 4201 De Zavala Rd, San Antonio, TX 78249 and continues at the Muslim Children Education & Civic Center, 5281 Casa Bella St. San Antonio, TX 78249.

Free and open to the public---donations are welcome. Youth groups are invited. Please RSVP by Sept. 8 with the number of people coming by writing or leave a message at (210) 829-3854.

Dress Code
The program begins with supper at 6 pm in the parish hall of St. Francis Church. Those who wish may come between 5:30 and 6 pm register and then see the inside of St. Francis Church. Modest dress is appreciated in Catholic churches. After super and the film, both men and women should be dressed modestly and conservatively for visiting the mosque, not wearing shorts and covering legs. Women should bring a shawl or scarf to cover head and arms in the mosque. Shoes are to be taken off before entering the mosque. We appreciate your respectful cooperation.

A part of the 2013 Pilgrimage of Compassion initiated by the peaceCENTER for San Antonio to become a City of Compassion. See

For an 8.5 by 11 inch colored poster which can be printed, click here. For 5.5 by 8.5 inch black and white fliers which can be printed, click here.

Background Information

For more information on the film sponsored by the USCCB Campaign for Human Development, the Institute of Interfaith Dialog, and the Franciscans, see

Learn more of the PEACE TRIPTYCH icons by Brother Robert Lentz, OFM. He painted the Sultan, Francis, and Fakhr ad-Din al-Farisi, a Persian Sufi who advised the Sultan. Brother Robert writes, “Al-Kamil was known as a kind, generous, fair ruler. He was nephew to the great Salah al-Din. At Damietta alone he offered peace to the Crusaders five times, and, according to western accounts, treated defeated Crusaders humanely. His goal was to establish a peaceful coexistence with Christians.” art-image/peace-triptych

The on-line Resource Guide for the film has good background materials and activities catalog.

The song "We Come Only Armed with Love" by Jesse Manibusan and Franciscan Brother Rufino Zaragoza, OFM, remembers the story of the Sultan and Francis. The video shows some contemporary Muslim and Christian peacemakers. How many can you identify?

An article on the relevance of the film In the Footprints of Francis and the Sultan: A Model for Peacemaking timing

For those interested in scholarly background, the Lebanese author, Amin Maalouf wrote The Crusades Through Arab Eyes (New York: Schocken Books, 1984) based on primary documents.

In 2010 the Catholic Press Association presented the award for best history book to Paul Moses for The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi’s Mission of Peace (Doubleday, 2009). The Sultan was a wise ruler who preferred trade, negotiation, and peace to warfare.

Dr. Scott C. Alexander

Dr. Scott Alexander

The distinguished scholar Dr. Scott C. Alexander will share a keynote address at the first “Regional Interfaith Conference: Engaging in Dialogue” hosted by the University of the Incarnate Word on August 6, 2013.

He is an Associate Professor of Islam and Director of the Catholic-Muslim Studies Program at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Islamic Law and Culture and is a consultant on Catholic-Muslim relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. His most recent book project is entitled The Race to Goodness: an End to Triumphalism in Christian-Muslim Relations and deals with the inherent contradiction between religious claims to universal truth and the religiously motivated desire to impose this truth on others as a means of political and cultural domination.

For the whole conference program and a registration form, click here For a poster, click here. The Conference will be held at the Whitley Theological Center at the Oblate School of Theology, San Antonio, 8:45 am to 5 pm.


President Obama’s Interfaith and Community Service Challenge

interfaith service challenge

Sr. Martha Ann Kirk, Marty Battafarano, Rev. Trevor Alexander, and Dr. Lopita Nath, leader of the UIW response to President Obama’s Interfaith and Community Service Challenge, joined Campus Ministers, Faculty, and Administration at St. Edward’s University, February 3, to consider progress and plans in regard to Interfaith Service.   After receiving midyear reports of campus activities, at a prayer breakfast President Obama spoke of our responses as an example,  “Colleges across the country have answered our Interfaith Campus Challenge, and students are joined together across religious lines in service to others.” The President’s complete remarks are posted at

Dr. John L. Esposito

Community Garden Groundbreaking


Community Garden Groundbreaking. Dr.  Scott Dittloff and Zacil Andrade from the University of the Incarnate Word were a part of the ground breaking of the “Community Interfaith Education Literacy Opportunity” Community Garden on February 11, 2012 at House of Prayer Lutheran Church. Members of the UIW community are encouraged to join the refugees working in the garden every weekend.  Many of the refugees are skilled in growing their own food.  U.S. students often do not know how to do this and can learn. Gardening is healthy exercise and an opportunity to see the wonder of God’s creation. Read more. Read article

Dr Chandrika Kaul

Dr Chandrika Kaul

The UIW Asian Studies hosted Dr Chandrika Kaul, from the Department of Modern History, University of St. Andrews, Scotland on April 11, 2012, Library Auditorium, 5 p.m. She presented on the Media in the British Imperial period. She specializes in Modern South Asia, especially Indian history and politics, and British media and popular culture including contemporary media; Globalization and transnational Communications.

Rho Chi Pharmacy Honor Society Delta Eta Chapter

Directory of Participants


Institution's Challenge Leader

  • Dr. Lopita Nath ( University of the Incarnate Word, 4301 Broadway CPO # 64, Phone: (210) 829-3880

Student Leadership

  • Marty Battafarano ( Academic Concentration: Masters in Pastoral Ministry with a focus on Interfaith Dialogue. Graduation Year: May 2012. Organizations: Social Justice and Community Service Graduate Assistant for UIW University Mission and Ministry.
  • Sarah Hanson ( Academic Concentration: Major in Education with minor in Special Education and Reading. Graduation Year: May 2012. Interfaith Student Organization. Education Club.

Cross-Campus Partners

Web Author: Blanca E. Morales

The University of the Incarnate Word provides reasonable accommodation with adequate notice. To request disability accommodation for this event, visit and click on the ADA/Section 504 link.