On Sunday, Oct 3, 2004 the Most Reverend Bishop Anthony M. Pilla visited our Temple. Bishop Pilla is the head of The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland that provides spiritual guidance to more than 1,100,000 people in Northeast Ohio. He is a well-known leader of our community.
Over the last several thousand years, Hindu religion, philosophy and way of life have been understanding and respectful of peoples practicing other religions, faiths and spiritual living. Starting late 1960s hundreds of thousands of us moved from our old home, India to our new home, the United States of America. Our children go to schools and colleges where more than 98% of their friends are of non-Indian national and non-Hindu origins. At work places we continue to work with people of many faiths and races. And the events of September 11, 2001, have permanently altered the societal environment at both USA and abroad.
It is imperative that people from various ethnic backgrounds, faiths, and spiritual practices meet to dialogue to explore common ground and gain a stronger understanding of faith differences and work together for a common goal - that is a better community. Interfaith activity is a necessity for our families and communities.
More than 600 students from all local area colleges, many high schools, and many members of local area churches visit our Temple each year. Our Temple Manager and knowledgeable community volunteers take them around the Temple and explains our faith and rituals to the visitors. Also the Manager and community members attend many interfaith offsite meetings and activities through out the year.
Bishop Pilla's visit will strengthen our Temple's effort to foster interfaith interface between many peoples living in our community. Our Temple priests in the Vedic tradition greeted Bishop Pilla. He joined the Arati and toured the puja hall. The children performed welcoming dances.
The Bishop gave a short but important speech directly addressing the children and encouraging them to learn and maintain our tradition and values. Then the Bishop joined in taking mahaprasad (lunch). After the lunch he spent time in meeting with and speaking to the Temple devotees.