Xavier Magazine

The Roman Road

Rabbi Abie Ingber has spent his life building bridges between the Jewish and Christian faiths. That mission led Ingber, director for Hillel at Xavier, to two audiences with Pope John Paul II.


And this fall, he’ll return to Rome for the first lay conference on Catholic-Jewish relations at the Vatican with a group that includes University President Michael J. Graham, S.J.; James Buchanan, director for the Edward B. Brueggeman center for dialogue; Art Schriberg, professor of management and entrepreneurship; Jewish student Michael Loban; and Catholic student Maggie Meyer.

The conference’s goal, Ingber says, is to move bridge-building beyond the clergy and “into the pews.” The discussion will revolve around identifying areas of “commonality and divide” between the traditions. Lay leaders from 18 U.S. cities will attend, hopefully laying the groundwork for a network to share ideas and programming. Beyond the dialogue, the group will present a Menorah to the pope, visit the Great Synagogue of Rome, and listen to Jerzy Kluger—Pope John Paul II’s closest Jewish friend—tell his story.

“Our hope is we can come back to the U.S. and continue these relationships—and perhaps even expand it to include lay leaders from the Muslim community,” Ingber says. “If you get good at bridge building, there are lots of rivers to cross.”

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