August 26, 2022

That All May Be One / Fr. Rick Ginther

‘Fabric of traditions’ to be on display at annual Festival of Faiths

Fr. Rick GintherMy youngest sister, Fran, took up weaving a few years ago. Sitting at her loom, she settles herself into the rhythm of pattern, color and threads small to large.

She allows herself to recall the purpose of the weaving. It might be a gift, more art than practical. Or a gift both practical and beautiful.

Within the woven rug, runner or tapestry, a story is told, meaning emerges, love is spoken.

Weaving the “Fabric of Our Traditions” is the theme binding all participants at the 10th annual Festival of Faiths. It is from 1-5 p.m. on Sept. 18 in Military Park. Adjacent to White River State Park, it is just west of downtown Indianapolis.

The weavings which will be on display with be multi-layered.

First, there is the tapestry of faiths in central Indiana.

Second, there is the multi-hued varied styles of clothing native to each religion. As of mid-August, the tapestry of faiths is large.

From Christianity: Christian Theological Seminary; Earlham School of Religion (Friends, also known as Quakers), and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

Two religions related to Christianity—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon) and The Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis—will again share in the festival.

Islam will be represented by the Indianapolis Muslim Community Association and the Nur-Allah Islamic Center. The Hindu way of life will be evident in the Wisdom of the Vedas and the Hindu Temple of Central Indiana.

A relatively new religious movement, Eckankar, or the Path of Spiritual Freedom (established in 1965), plans to be present.

Judaism will be on hand through the Greater Indianapolis Jewish Community. Baha’i will participate through the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Indianapolis. And the Sikh community from greater metropolitan Indianapolis will once again be a distinct splash of color.

Many religions have distinct clothing and drapings. They are rooted in their historic culture of origin. To see them reveals in some way their religion.

Be prepared to see Sikh garb: Turbans (both men and women), spiritual attire (Bana), and scarves (Hajoori).

Enjoy Jewish yarmulkas, prayer shawls and other fabric expressions of Judaism. Feast your eyes upon Hindu distinct markings and dress for women: the Bindi—a red dot—originally denoting a married woman; the sari (saree); the salwar kameez, a tunic (kameez) long enough to partially conceal loose fitting trousers (salwar); and Bangles, bands worn on the wrists.

Hindu men in attendace, especially those who are married, may be wearing a dhoti kurta, a generously cut cotton shirt (kurta) covered by a dhoti, a long piece of material tied around the waist and extending to cover most of the legs. 

Islamic women may be seen in the Hijab, a woman’s headscarf; and a variety of full body garments: the Niqab, the Chador, and the Burka.

Muslim men may be dressed in the shalwar kameez, loose-fitting pants and a long tunic; a thobe, a long robe with a tailored top; and the ghutra and egal, a scarf and rope combination worn on the head and face.

Contemporary Catholics and most Christians do not have specific “religious-centered” clothing. However, we do have consecrated men and women in habits. And bishops, priests and deacons wear specific liturgical garments. Several specific Catholic religious and liturgical vesture will be on display.

Come and enjoy the weaving of faiths, the texture of religious clothing, and the commonality of those who are seeking God in their lives.

And be sure to stop by the tents of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis: Rumor has it Pope Francis will be visiting.

(Father Rick Ginther is director of the archdiocesan Office of Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs. He is also the pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Indianapolis. For planning purposes, to register to attend the Festival of Faiths please go to

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