At a lunchtime Festival of Faiths preview event, Chair Owsley Brown III shared a message from the Dalai Lama, who was originally scheduled to be at the event but had to cancel due to concerns for his health.
The Tibetan spiritual leader said: “It is with delight that I convey my personal greetings and congratulations to my dear brothers and sisters as you gather in Louisville to celebrate the Festival of Faiths, on the subject of ‘Compassion: Shining like the Sun.’ Though I could not be present this time, my thoughts and prayers are very much with you as you make efforts to better your community, and thereby benefit all.”
He then went on to write that all religions teach “love and compassion, tolerance and forgiveness” and that we “all share a wish to be happy and to live in a peaceful, harmonious world.”
Finally, the Dalai Lama congratulated Mayor Greg Fischer on his Compassionate City efforts.
The event also featured an introduction by Sarah Reed Harris, executive director of the Center for Interfaith Relations, who cited Louisville’s Thomas Merton, the renowned monk and interfaith champion, and his words about his famous epiphany on the downtown streets of Louisville. Merton is an inspiration for the festival. The Dalai Lama met Merton just weeks before the monk died and has since often cited him as a role model.
Hannah Drake, spoken word artist, performed a poem about the power of womanhood; she has performed at Showtime at the Apollo and the Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe. Kiara Watts and Vay Davis of Nzuri Music performed and Caitlin Edwards played a Jewish folk song on the violin. Louisville Orchestra’s Teddy Abrams was supposed to appear but did not.
The Festival of Faiths kicks off on Wednesday, with a free, ticketless event beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Assumption. The event’s keynote speaker is former NBC anchor Ann Curry. Also at the event will be Louisville’s Linkin’ Bridge, country music star IMAJ and Abrams.
The Festival will be held at the Kentucky Center for the Arts April 19-21 and moves to Spalding University on April 22 for a special Earth Day celebration. Tickets for the full event are $250, with most individual speakers, performances or panels at $25 each. The full schedule is available on the website.