FAIRFIELD, Conn.—Three new part-time chaplains at Sacred Heart University—Imam Gazmend Aga, Rabbi Marcelo Kormis and Mark Block, executive director of 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.
PHOTO CAPTION: From left are new Sacred Heart University Chaplains Rabbi Marcelo Kormis, Imam Gazmend Aga and Mark Block. Photo by Tracy Deer-Mirek 1/31/18
About Sacred Heart University
Sacred Heart University, the second-largest independent Catholic university in New England, offers more than 70 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs on its main campus in Fairfield, Conn., and satellites in Connecticut, Luxembourg and Ireland.
More than 8,500 students attend the University’s five colleges: Arts & Sciences; Health Professions; Nursing; the Jack Welch College of Business; and the Isabelle Farrington College of Education. The Princeton Review includes SHU in its guides, Best 382 Colleges–2018 Edition, “Best in the Northeast” and Best 267 Business Schools–2018 Edition. It also placed SHU on its lists for “Best College Theater” and “Most Engaged in Community Service,” each of which comprises only 20 U.S. schools.
U.S .News & World Report ranks SHU in its Best Colleges 2018 guidebook and calls SHU the fourth “Most Innovative School” in the North. The Chronicle of Higher Education also names SHU one of the fastest-growing Roman Catholic universities in its 2016 almanac.
Sacred Heart fields 32 Division I athletic teams and has an award-winning program of community service.
For additional Sacred Heart University news, please visit http://www.sacredheart.edu/aboutshu/news/.