There are many reasons why I believe this Pilgrimage is important. Some are summarized below, but I think the tragic events of September 11, 2001, brought home to me the need for understanding both our own traditions as Western Christians, and the religious convictions of the 1.5 billion Muslims throughout the world, whom we are all too ready to dismiss with easy generalizations. Please read "It all began on September 11, 2001 -- the What and the Why of the Pilgrimage."
I am especially seeking Catholic School teachers, and there are several incentives:
1. Participation in the Pilgrimage is accredited by Loyola Marymount University for 4.5 semester hours of extension credit. The information has not yet been updated for 2011, but click here for last year's information. I am sure it will not change substantially for 2011.
2. A $2,000 scholarship for Catholic School teachers. I realize that participation in the Pilgrimage, necessitating two weeks out of school at the beginning of May, has to be a hardship for both the teacher and the school, I am able to offer a limited number of generous scholarships: $1,000 deducted from the cost of the Pilgrimage for the teacher, and $1,000 to the school to help defray the cost of a substitute teacher. Click here for the "open letter" I sent to principals, and click here for the course syllabus. There are many ways that the whole school community, as well as teacher's own class, can benefit immensely from a teacher's participation in the Pilgrimage. And I am eager to help explore and develop those possibilities.
3. Last year, Maddie Murphy, 5th grade teacher from Good Shepherd, was a Pilgrim. Click here for her blog, a diary of the experience that she wrote for her students; and click here for the photos she posted on Picasa. through Skype, she was also able to be in frequent direct contact with her students and with the school during the trip -- a wonderful opportunity for her class and for the whole school community.
… come to understand the faith and culture of Islam: what we as Christians share with Muslims and how we differ