The University of Notre Dame is partnering with Catholic universities to establish a consortium for the study of Muslim-Christian relations. Notre Dame is joining the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies in Rome, the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan and Saint Joseph University of Beirut to create a graduate student exchange program for doctoral and master’s degree students in theology.
The university says the program will also provide mentorship and research opportunities.
“Pope Francis is clearly signaling to Catholics that part of charity is welcoming the other, offering hospitality toward the other and extending the friendship of Christ to non-Christians as well,” said Gabriel Said Reynolds, professor of Theology. “In establishing this consortium, we sought to build bridges that will allow us to think together about fruitful ways to engage with Islam and support the Church.”
Reynolds was appointed by Pope Francis to the commission for Catholic-Muslim dialogue in 2020.
“The Pontifical Institute offers coursework in both Italian and Arabic to students who come from all over the world, while Saint Joseph University has a highly diverse student body in a majority-Muslim country,” he said. “And Sacro Cuore in Milan has historical connections to the communion and liberation movement within the Catholic Church, as well as a robust, thriving program in Muslim-Christian relations.”
The program is scheduled to begin this fall. Theology students will spend up to a year at their selected institution.