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Common Experience to host San Marcos River blessing

By Philip Hadley
University News Service
February 19, 2008

Texas Rivers Center

The Common Experience program at Texas State University-San Marcos will host the Interfaith Blessing of the San Marcos Headwaters at the Texas State River Center conference room Feb. 21 at 5 p.m.

There will be free parking for the event at Saltgrass Steakhouse at 100 Sessom Dr. Glass bottom boats will shuttle guests from the Saltgrass dock to the River Center free of charge. Boats will depart at 4:15 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. only. The boats will transport people back to the dock at the end of the event. Parking will also be available at the Aquatics Center and at the River Center.

The event will begin with an opening address by Walter Rast from the department of biology. A blessing at the water’s edge will follow the address. Seven participants of different faiths will offer a prayer or bless the river’s headwaters.

Participating in the blessing will be a representative from the San Marcos Baha’i Assembly, Jake Lorfing from the Austin Shambhala Buddhist Meditation Center, Father Jonathan Niehaus, director from the H.L. Grant Catholic Student Center, Srivana Krishna from the Austin Hindu Temple and Community Center, Neil Blumofe, Cantor from Texas State Hillel, Nader M. Elmarhoumi, Imam from the San Marcos Mosque, and a representative from the Texas State Native American Student Association.

Following the blessing participants and guests will return to the conference room for conversation and light refreshments at 6:15 p.m. Dan Lochman, associate dean of the college of liberal arts and event advisory committee member, said the blessing is designed to emphasize the importance of water from the religious perspective.

“All religions have a common interest in water for symbolic reasons or sacramental reasons,” Lochman said. “Water is the basic necessity of life and is central to all human civilizations and religions.”

Lochman said that water is a unifying factor in all cultures and religions. The blessing is a way to bring these cultures together and emphasize the importance of maintaining water quality.

“The need for excellent stewardship of natural resources including water is a part of the thinking of most religions around the world,” Lochman said. “This is really the point we want to emphasize.”

For guests living on campus a shuttle van will depart from the Texas State Catholic Student Center at 4:30 p.m. For directions to the Texas State River Center visit www.maps.txstate.edu/trc.html. For more information on the event contact Dan Lochman at (512) 245-9168.