The Brueggeman center honors the memory of Edward Brueggeman, S.J., former chairman of Xavier's department of theology and a leading figure in the Midwest for interfaith cooperation. Brueggeman, who committed much of his life to promoting greater understanding among religious groups, founded and co-hosted the local religious television program ?Dialogue,? which ran for more than 20 years. This popular program brought together leaders of many faiths to exchange views in an atmosphere of respect and trust. The Brueggeman center aims to capture the broad ecumenical and interreligious outreach that typified both Brueggeman's spirituality and his career.
The Brueggeman center's inaugural event, the Millennium Peace Celebration, embodied the center's focus on collaboration and unity among the diversity of religious faiths. Held on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2000, the event was designed to demonstrate that the desire for peace and the belief in its possibility transcend differences of creed or theology. The celebration on Xavier's campus featured members of the Interfaith Peace Council, a group of spiritual leaders from around the globe who are committed to working together for the shared concerns of the whole community of life. Interspersed with talks from Peace Council members were rituals from a variety of religious traditions. The event followed a day of open house programs held at Cincinnati places of worship to educate the public about the various faith traditions.
The center was originally called The Brueggeman center for interreligious dialogue. While interreligious dialogue remains the distinguishing characteristic and integrating force, the center's name was altered in June 2003 to recognize an expanded mission and program direction. If dialogue is to have real impact, the center's parameters needed to be expanded to include other academic disciplines, representatives from the business community, government and civic society.
This expanded mission provides an important conduit for Xavier University to further realize its educational mission and its role in society. Xavier is the sixth oldest Catholic university in the nation and one of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities nationwide. Inherent in the Jesuit philosophy of education is the belief that religious insights are complementary to intellectual life, and that a continuing synthesis of the Christian perspective with all other forms of human knowledge is conducive to wisdom and understanding. This belief continues to challenge Xavier to engage broader audiences in considering the role religion plays in public affairs.