One of the top Jesuit-Catholic institute, Loyola University in Chicago (USA), reportedly houses a dedicated Hindu prayer room.
According to reports, located in Mundelein, this “Hindu Puja Room” hosts regular aarti prayers, goddess Saraswati pujas, Hinduism discussions, etc., and is also open for individual prayers. Hindu festivals like Navratri, Diwali and Holi are also celebrated on campus. An annual “Hindu Awareness Week” is also organized, and in the past, it also showcased a model Hindu wedding. Diwali Dinner has been scheduled on November one this year, while Navratri Garba was held on September 29.
Applauding Loyola University for provision of dedicated Hindu prayer room, distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, described it as “a step in the right direction”. Zed commended Loyola for recognizing the intersection of spirituality and education, which was important in Hinduism.
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged other USA universities, both public and private, to respond to the spiritual needs of diverse student body and follow Loyola University’s action to provide dedicated Hindu prayer/meditation rooms for rituals, quiet reflection, festivals and spiritual exercise, which would help in their personal growth.
Loyola University in Chicago, whose tagline is “Preparing people to lead extraordinary lives” and whose patron is Saint Ignatius Loyola, has over 16,000 students in 31 doctoral, 85 masters and 71 undergraduate majors. Founded in 1870, it believes in “educating the whole person” and seeks “God in all things”. Its undergraduate tuition is $32,200 and Reverend Michael J. Garanzini is the President. Darshan Thakkar and Neha Singla are President and Vice President respectively of Loyola’s Hindu Students Organization.
Roman Catholics, headed by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and headquartered in Vatican City, are the largest single denomination of Christianity with about 1.2 billion followers out of which Jesuits form the largest single religious order of priests and brothers. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.