Tuesday, December 16, 2014

written by guest blogger, Kerri Dietz Pillen
Everything I have ever witnessed or participated in that involved Project Interfaith was done with an uncanny amount of thorough professional care.  I will never forget how we live interviewing teams for the first phase of RaveUnravel submitted interest forms, then had an information/training meeting, then had regular talk-about-it meetings, then had a lunch meeting, a personal response to the experience meeting...and I know there were other ones that I am not recalling just now.

On the other hand, every time I have written something for Project Interfaith it has been to meet a quickly arriving deadline, and done with more haste and less care than I would wish.  This letter is no exception.
Last week I was quite surprised to learn that Beth Katz will no longer be leading Project Interfaith.  How we will miss her, and how lucky we were to have her!

Beth has accomplishments and relationships that are well known around the world.  What I have  meant to say to Beth for years, and am hurrying to say now, is that for me the PROJECT in Project Interfaith has always been both a noun and also a verb, just like Beth herself.  Regarding this verb, to project, I know no one who projects more hospitality, appreciation, knowledge, the building of relationships or caring than our Beth.  And because of the noun, the interfaith project, which she so wisely named Project Interfaith --  everyone and everything touched by it/her has been enlightened and empowered to become another ripple projecting hospitality, appreciation, knowledge, caring and the building of relationships across the world... to become another spark of light projecting into one heart at a time.

I said once in something else that I wrote for PI that I have come to weigh many of my personal involvements with people and entities with standards that I first heard expressed so well by Project Interfaith:  being sure that everyone is included, protected, and valued.  It made me think of people or organizations in my life that fulfilled one or two of these attributes but was missing at least one.  I KNOW that because we have been touched by Beth, we can all personify all three of these concepts and --in our own smaller personal ways -- we can do what Beth personifies:  we also can project an attitude that leads to a local community and eventually to a world community where everyone is valued, included, and protected.  And wherever Beth may be, we will never stop.

Au revoir, Beth.  You, PI, and all of us who have been touched by PI are forever bound (also both an adjective :-)  and a verb)

Kerri Dietz Pillen Bio: I am a cradle Catholic and one who questions institutions for as long as I can remember. I was born in Omaha, raised from 4 years old in Bellevue through St Marys Bellevue grammar school and Daniel Gross Catholic high school.  In undergraduate work at Iowa State I taught children's classes, attended retreats  and was an altar server.  In optometry school at Ohio State University I was in the artisans, was a Eucharistic minister and lectored and attended retreats.  I returned to practice optometry with my father (since deceased) and rejoined my home parish of St Marys Bellevue along with my husband and mother, where I continue to lector and have been a CCD teacher, Eucharistic minister, and member of the liturgy planning committee.
I am a cradle Catholic and have been a person who questions social behavior/attitudes and institutions for as long as I can remember, and I like bridges between people more than divisions.  While the name Catholic means universal, I am better able to build relationships outside my faith and to pursue universal respect and understanding of non Catholics via Project Interfaith.  I loved the concept of an interfaith organization when I first heard of PI, and my participation has included attending several interfaith architecture tours, submitting photos that were used for the art works project showing how our local worship experience religious nourishes us, attending lectures sponsored by PI and others publicized by PI, volunteering to help at some PI events, spreading the word of their existence, and I was an in person interviewer for the RavelUnravel project.  I have two children.  They are generous people who accept and support people of all types and organization, they give service to their communities, and are not religiously affiliated.

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