Three new part-time chaplains at Sacred Heart University—Imam Gazmend Aga, Rabbi Marcelo Kormis and Mark Block, executive director of the Congregation Rodeph Sholom—have joined the Campus Ministry team as part of the “Open Heart, Many Faiths” initiative.
The initiative began as a means of opening channels between faiths, encouraging open dialogue and communication on campus and providing an open door for students who have questions about religion and spirituality.
During a recent meet-and-greet session with the three chaplains in University Commons, Larry Carroll, executive director of Pastoral Services and Planning, described the new chaplains as individuals with “great faith, great spirit and fun.”
Aga is well-known in Albania for his experience in religious education and interfaith activities. He currently is the imam of the Albanian American Community in Waterbury. Kormis is from Congregation Beth El in Fairfield and works vigorously to inspire people of all ages to engage in spirituality and social justice. Block is executive director of Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Bridgeport. He completed his MBA at SHU in 1998 and was one of the founding members and first president of the Council of Graduate Students.
“Campus Ministry is open to students of all faith traditions here at Sacred Heart,” said Carroll. “We are happy to welcome three new spiritual leaders to our ministry. They come out of the Jewish and Muslim traditions and will be available for all members of the Sacred Heart community.”
Aga, more commonly known as Gazi, explained that religion teaches forgiveness. It teaches people about each other and shows not only the differences in the community, but what people have in common.
Each chaplain will have office hours in Campus Ministry one day a week and will be available to talk with students. They will also share their insights during a podcast entitled “An Imam, a Priest and a Rabbi Walk Into a Bar…” during which they will talk about the tough issues that come along with being a religious person in the 21st century. The show will be recorded at Red’s, Sacred Heart’s on-campus pub.