In This Issue
Yom Hashoah Edcuation & Events
Save These Dates
CCJS Photo Album
Updates & News Links
Nostra Aetate Resources
2010 Friends of the Center Appeal

April 2010

Dear CCJS Friends and E-Letter Readers,
In preparation for Easter and Passover, our CCJS programs highlighted the need for both Christians and Jews to learn more about each other's religious observances, and to reflect upon what we share, how we differ, and the ways in which we might work together for a better world.  The unique relationship between Christian and Jewish holy days is beautifully described in the following excerpt from the Catholic teaching document "
God's Mercy Endures Forever: Guidelines on the Presentation of Jews and Judaism in Catholic Preaching" (USCCB 1988)

From Advent through Passover/Easter, to Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana, the Catholic and Jewish liturgical cycles spiral around one another in a stately progression of challenges to God's people to repent, to remain faithful to God's call, and to prepare the world for the coming of God's Reign. While each is distinct and unique, they are related to one another. Christianity is engrafted on and continues to draw sustenance from the common root, biblical Israel (Rom 11:13-24).
Our February and March partnership programs for clergy, congregations, teachers, and students were very successful.  Enjoy a few photos from these events below.  We are especially grateful for CCJS board members, Rabbi Gary Klein and Laurin Jacobson, who have been guest lecturers  for our CCJS programs.  This month we focus on Yom Hashoah (Holocaust) educational resources as well as remembrance events.   CCJS board member, Deacon Macaulay, provided information regarding the April 25, 2010, Yom Hashoah service hosted by Bishop Dewane of the Diocese of Venice Florida [Link below].  Also, please note details regarding a very special CCJS Lunch and Learn event on May 6, 2010 at the University Club in Downtown Tampa. "Religion, Reporting, and the Media," will feature Rome journalist Lisa Palmieri-Billig, AJC's liaison to the Holy See and a panel of local religion media experts addressing the challenges that face those who work in and depend upon the media's "God Beat."  Seating is limited with reservations required by April 26.
On behalf of our CCJS staff, Jane Bracken and Thomas Poynor, and our CCJS Board of Directors,  we wish you and your families the  many blessings of the Easter and Passover seasons.
Blessings and Shalom, 
Linda Taggart
Linda Taggart, M.A., Director and Adjunct Professor of
Theology and Religion, Saint Leo University


  • Venice Diocese Hosts the 2010 Yom Hashoah Memorial Service, April 25, 2010, 2:30 p.m.,  at the Epiphany Cathedral Bishop Frank J. Dewane and the Ecumenism and Interreligious DialogueDiocese of Venice have announced the annual Diocesan Yom Hashoah Memorial Service to be held on Sunday, April 25th, at 2:30 p.m. in Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Avenue West, Venice, FL.  Please visit the Diocese of Venice website for more details. 


  • The Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg is hosting a series of events including the April 11, 2 p.m. Yom Hashoah Commemoration with Clifford Chanin.  For more information link here.
  • The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum website offers a wealth of educational resources for classroom and congregational use in planning Yom Hashoah programming.  See also the following special program:

Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue  

  • Educational Resource:  The following excerpt from "God's Mercy Endures Forever: Guidelines on the Presentation of Jews and Judaism in Catholic Preaching" (USCCB 1988) provides important information for Catholics  and those interested in Catholic teachings about the study of the Shoah and the Yom Hashoah observances.
  • Paragraph 25: Christian reflection on the passion should lead to a deep sense of the need for reconciliation with the Jewish community today. Pope John Paul II has said: Considering history in the light of the principles of faith in God, we must also reflect on the catastrophic event of the Shoah ...Considering this mystery of the suffering of Israel's children, their witness of hope, of faith, and of humanity under dehumanizing outrages, the Church experiences ever more deeply her common bond with the Jewish people and with their treasure of spiritual riches in the past and in the present" (Address to Jewish Leadership, Miami, September 11, 1987).
  • Paragraph 29. Also encouraged are joint memorial services commemorating the victims of the Shoah (Holocaust). These should be prepared for with catechetical and adult education programming to ensure a proper spirit of shared reverence. Addressing the Jewish community of Warsaw, Pope John Paul II stressed the uniqueness and significance of Jewish memory of the Shoah: "More than anyone else, it is precisely you who have become this saving warning. I think that in this sense you continue your particular vocation, showing yourselves to be still the heirs of that election to which God is faithful. This is your mission in the contemporary world before . . . all of humanity" (Warsaw, June 14, 1987). On the Sunday closest to Yom ha Shoah, Catholics should pray for the victims of the Holocaust and their survivors. The following serve as examples of petitions for the general intercessions at Mass:
    • For the victims of the Holocaust, their families, and all our Jewish brothers and sisters, that the violence and hatred they experienced may never again be repeated, we pray to the Lord.
    • For the Church, that the Holocaust may be a reminder to us that we can never be indifferent to the sufferings of others, we pray to the Lord.
    • For our Jewish brothers and sisters, that their confidence in the face of long-suffering may spur us on to a greater faith and trust in God, we pray to the Lord.


"Religion, Reporting, and the Media," Thursday, May 6, 2010, a Tampa CCJS Lunch and Learn Interfaith Education and Dialogue Program, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m., sponsored by CCJS at the University Club in Downtown Tampa.  Reserve your seat by April 26, 2010.  For details call CCJS 352-588-8597 or contact Linda Taggart






  • This lively interfaith education and dialogue program will begin with a presentation by Rome journalist, Lisa Palmieri-Billig, American Jewish Committee's (AJC) representative in Italy, Liaison to the Vat

    Lisa Billig

    Ms Lisa

    ican's Holy See, and Rome and Vatican correspondent for The Jerusalem Post.  Following a delicious lunch, a panel of local religion writers and media experts will join Lisa to discuss current challenges for those who work the media's "God Beat," as well as those in the community who rely upon their reporting.  Seating is limited. Reserve your seat by April 26, 2010. Cost: $35.00 (includes lunch).  A portion of the proceeds will support CCJS interfaith education and dialogue programming in our community. 


  • 42nd Annual National Workshop on Christian Unity Coming to Tampa April 19-22: Celebrating the spirit of ecumenism for nearly fifty years, the National Workshop on Christian Unity, an interdenominational ecumenical ministry, strives to equip leaders for the task of ecumenical ministry.  NWCU workshops provide meetings and seminars involving leading figures in the ecumenical movement in order to share ideas and experiences, discussions and conversations, and networking opportunities for all who are concerned about ecumenism and interfaith relations.  The workshops seek to balance general ecumenical and interfaith issues with local planning and organization.  This year's conference will be held at the Tampa Hyatt Regency April 19-22 with a number of featured speakers, including Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta, Georgia, and showcasing a dozen ecumenical seminars treating topics ranging from the origins of the modern ecumenical movement to interfaith relations to the ecumenical visions of popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, to name just a few.  This conference is also supported by the Catholic Association of Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers (CADEIO).  For more information about the conference, and to register for the event, please see the NWCU's website at


  • Attention Educators: The Florida Holocaust MuseumEcumenism and Interreligious Dialogue announces the 2010 Sam Gross Summer Institute on the Holocaust. The 2010 program, "History of the Holocaust, Human Rights, and Genocide Studies," is scheduled for June 14-18, 2010.  Any educator may apply.  Spaces are limited. Applicants are chosen by a selection committee.  Application deadline for the 2010 session is May 3, 2010. Read more here.


Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue

  • Dr. Jack Conroy, Professor, Blessed Edmund Rice, and CCJS Board Member, reports: The Catholic-Jewish Dialogue of Collier County held its second dialogue session yesterday, February 28th, at St. William Church. 150 people attended and participated in a discussion of the ways Christians and Jews read the same texts. Dr. Gregory Vall, a Hebrew Scriptures scholar from Ave Maria University, began the discussion by describing the way early Christians first affirmed the value and inspired character of the Hebrew Scriptures, and also read them in such a way that they pointed to Christ. Many of the early Christians maintained that the Greek Scriptures invalidated the covenants of the Hebrew Scriptures. Dr. Vall then pointed out that contemporary Catholic scholars, following the principles laid down in several Vatican II documents affirm, with St. Paul, that God's covenants are irrevocable. Rabbi Chezzi Zionce, of the Beth Tikvah Synagogue in Naples, FL, described how the Rabbis read Torah and the other sacred books of the Hebrew Scriptures along with the commentaries of generations of commentators. He demonstrated how the "Mikraot Gadolah" (the Great Scriptures, i.e., the Torah) is published with the text being surrounded by the comments of the great Rabbis of history. In discussion after both presentations, Rabbi Zionce pointed out that there is a slight difference between the theory of inspiration regarding Torah (the first five books) which he maintained were dictated by God to Moses, and the Prophets and Writings, which did not have the same divine origin, but which were written by human beings, with indirect guidance of God. Questions from the floor and responses by both scholars resulted in a warm and successful conclusion to the experience. Participants enjoyed refreshments and continued conversation after the formal presentation.


  • CCJS and the Philosophy, Theology, and Religion Department at Saint Leo University partnered toSt Leo Students and Rabbi Rosenberg present two successful interfaith education and dialogue programs in February and March:  "Friendship and Faith: An Introduction to Catholic-Jewish Dialogue," on campus featuring Laurin Jacobson and Linda Taggart, and a special synagogue visit and lecture hosted by Rabbi Jason Rosenberg of Congregation Beth Am in Tampa.  We are grateful to Dr. Randall Woodard, Dr. Michael Tkacik, Professor Paul McCuistion, Professor Thomas Poynor, Jane Bracken, and Magda Robles for their support.
  • Annual Model Seder at Saint Leo University, held on Wednesday,March 10, 2010, in the Board Rooms of  the Student Community Center on Saint Leo University Campus was a great success! 

    • 2010 Model Seder SLidesFrom Magda Robles, Assistant Director for University Ministry: Saint Leo University Ministry and CCJS sponsored a model Seder meal on March 10, 2010. We are especially grateful to Rabbi Gary Klein, CCJS Board member, for once again conducting the teaching Seder.  Approximately 83 members of the community attended the model Seder meal. This year we were honored by the presence of the members of the Board of Directors for CCJS and blessed by the company of the Benedictine Sisters of Florida. The event provided the opportunity to embrace diversity and celebrate our differences in spirit of community. Moreover, this event was an example of how it is possible for people from different spiritual backgrounds to come together and learn from one another, it exemplifies Saint Leo's values of respect and community.  Thank you to everyone that attended, your presence made the evening very special. - Magda Robles



  •  Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Tampa celebrated the 50th Anniversary Ann Zack Interfaith Tea March Ann Zack Tea10th with a Seder Meal led by CCJS board member Laurin Jacobson and Rodeph Sisterhood leader Valerie Blau.  More than 225 Christian and Jewish women attended this wonderful event.


  • Information on Model (Teaching) Seders from "God's Mercy Endures Forever: Guidelines on the Presentation of Jews and Judaism in Catholic Preaching"(USCCB 1988):  It is becoming familiar in many parishes and Catholic homes to participate in a Passover Seder during Holy Week. This practice can have educational and spiritual value. It is wrong, however, to "baptize" the Seder by ending it with New Testament readings about the Last Supper or, worse, turn it into a prologue to the Eucharist. Such mergings distort both traditions. The following advice should prove useful:When Christians celebrate this sacred feast among themselves, the rites of the haggadah for the seder should be respected in all their integrity. The seder . . . should be celebrated in a dignified manner and with sensitivity to those to whom the seder truly belongs. The primary reason why Christians may celebrate the festival of Passover should be to acknowledge common roots in the history of salvation. Any sense of "restaging" the Last Supper of the Lord Jesus should be avoided .... The rites of the Triduum are the [Church's] annual memorial of the events of Jesus' dying and rising (Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy Newsletter, March 1980, p. 12). Seders arranged at or in cooperation with local synagogues are encouraged.


Ecumenism and Interreligious DialogueROME - The TV images of the Pope's visit to the Rome synagogue reflected the significance of the occasion, but could not capture the atmosphere inside, which was quite electric, especially because of the controversy surrounding the event.

The visit of Pope Benedict XVI took place under the cloud of his advancement of "the cause" of the canonization of Pope Pius XII, which touches on the profound and raw nerve of Jewry's greatest tragedy and has a particular sensitivity in Rome, where Jews were deported to camps "from under the Pope's window." There also were the crises brought about by his lifting of the excommunication of the Lefevbrist "bishops," including Holocaust-denier Richard Williamson; and the Pope's wider authorization of the Tridentine Latin liturgy, with its Easter-time prayer for the conversion of the Jews. In addition, certain developments in the U.S. Catholic Church and elsewhere led many people to question the sincerity of this papacy's commitment to advancing Catholic-Jewish relations along the path of John Paul II's groundbreaking initiatives and declarations.

In addition to the text of Pope Benedict XVI's address in the synagogue that sought to lay these doubts to rest, the warm greetings and public expressions of already well-established friendships between Catholic and Jewish leadership present - not only from Italy but, in particular, from Israel - added to the historic significance of the event and gave it a festive and celebratory character.

There were a number of especially notable points in the Pope's address. He frequently used the designation "People of the Covenant" to describe the Jewish community and, notably in the context of the Shoah, called Jews "the people of the covenant of Moses." He emphasized that, as opposed to any other religion, Judaism has an inherent and eternal covenantal relationship with God. Furthermore, in his call to Christians to learn from traditional Jewish understanding of shared Scripture, he categorically clarified the Church's view of the Jewish people not only as the living authentic bearer of the Divine message with its own integrity, but as having profound spiritual and educational value for the Church itself. And, to illustrate this, he included notable quotations from Jewish sources.


  • Pope's Visit to Rome Synagogue: It's Part of aCunningham Continuing Journey by Philip A. Cunningham:  Pope Benedict XVI just became the second pontiff in history to visit the Great Synagogue of Rome. His predecessor, John Paul II, had delivered a major address there in 1986, in which he stressed the spiritual ties between Judaism and Christianity. His remarks included these oft-quoted words: "The Jewish religion is not 'extrinsic' to us, but in a certain way is 'intrinsic' to our own religion. With Judaism therefore we have a relationship that we do not have with any other religion. You are our dearly beloved brothers and, in a certain way, it could be said that you are our elder brothers." Read more here.


Mark your calendars for our Saint Leo University and CCJS Campus Conference:  "Nostra Aetate (In Our Time) at 45: Remember, Reflect, Renew," Thursday, October 28, 2010. Explore the importance of Vatican II for interfaith education and dialogue. Stay tuned for details to be posted on the CCJS website or contact Linda S. Taggart, CCJS Director,  at

Rabbi James Rudin

  • This timely interfaith education and dialogue conference focusing on the legacy of Nostra Aetate will be held on the campus of Saint Leo University in the new Student Community Center on Thursday, October 28, 2010. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. with conference presentations from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Continental breakfast and lunch are included.  CEU credits will be offered.  Cost: $25.  Conference Chairs: Rabbi A. James Rudin and Shelia McDevitt, Esq. Academic Chair: Reverend Dr. William Ditewig, Director, Master of Arts in Theology, Saint Leo University.


  • This month CCJS is highlighting the following textsBoys written and/or edited by Sr. Mary Boys, professor of theology at Union Theological Seminary.   Both texts are recommended for classroom, congregational, and community interfaith study programs.




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