There will be a dialogue between some of the Rio Grande Valley’s faith leaders over some Thanksgiving pies on Monday, and the public is welcome.
The event, called Hermanos & Pies, will feature Bishop Daniel Flores, Rabbi Claudio J. Kogan, Imam Noor Ahmad and Pastor Julio Guarneri.
These discussions originated in 2013 between Flores and Kogan as a way for the community to ask questions about anything in particular.
According to organizer Patty Sunday, who has served as moderator for these events, the idea came about through Kogan, whose mentor, Rabbi Marshall Meyer, was friends with Pope Francis when he was a bishop in Argentina.
Kogan was inspired by the interfaith dialogues that Francis held with leaders from other religions when he was a bishop.
“I learned from my mentors who inspired me through the interfaith dialogue,” Kogan said. “That was at the same time that Pope Francis was appointed as the new pope. My colleagues and mentors from Argentina developed a very strong relationship with Pope Francis. So I spoke with Bishop Flores about the possibility of emulating that relationship and starting to bring dialogue to the community. And to share all of the common themes that we talk, we preach, we study, and we teach our members of our society.”
Kogan, who is an associate professor in the department of internal medicine and a module co-director of medicine behavior and society at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine in Edinburg, said that Meyer taught him many of the values that he still follows this day.
“Since the humanitarian crisis started, I’ve worked side by side with Sister Norma (Pimentel) bringing the community together, bringing all the faiths together, bringing people from out of town and different states to the border,” Kogan said. “As a medical doctor, I always try to bring the two things together towards the healing of the human being. In my humble opinion, every faith has to stress the importance of taking care of every single human being.”
Kogan said that he feels there needs to be dialogue between people with different beliefs so that there can be an understanding among the different faiths.
He recalled the first time that he and Bishop Flores participated in the public dialogue in 2013.
“The first time that I met with the bishop, I will never forget somebody said to me after the talk, ‘I don’t understand who is the winner.’ I said, ‘You’re right, because there is no winner. All of us are winners,’” Kogan said. “We are accustomed to watching TV and seeing a debate. This is not a debate. This is a dialogue. There are so many devices today that improve our communication, but we talk less. It’s time for the society to see that we need to come back, to talk. To bring our faiths together, our values. Over 90% of our values are the same. Yes, there are disagreements, but it’s important for us to put emphasis on things that we agree more than things that we don’t agree.”
Hermanos & Pies is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Edinburg.