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Brooklyn bishop presents housing project in Vatican with Buddhists

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio came to the Eternal City to discuss the “Green Affordable Housing Dialogue of Fraternity Projects” that Buddhists and Catholics are working on in Los Angeles, Chicago and Brooklyn. 

At the Vatican, the leaders from both religions met with the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and the bishop met personally with Pope Francis. 

Diocese of Brooklyn
“We came to present it to the Holy Father and it was the idea of Cardinal Tauran, before he died, almost two years ago. He started working to see if we can, in some way, highlight Laudato si', because that was the environmental encyclical. He wanted to have 'green housing,' housing that was environmentally sound, but this was directed toward the poor people. So we accomplish a lot of things with this. It's religious dialogue, environmental work and also helping the poor.”

Three years ago, they all convened in the Vatican to discuss ways to strengthen interfaith connections in neighborhoods and communities, especially reaching out to children and the elderly. 

Thus, they put their ideas into practice, as this project seeks to provide housing for low-income elderly persons and homeless populations.

Diocese of Brooklyn
“This is a service project. There are three other legs of the table we would say: there's dialogue, there's prayer, and there's a study of theology together. Different things... so this completes the table so it's not going to fall, so it's pretty stable now with four pillars.”

He told the pope about the project. They are working with Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens and Mercy Housing in Chicago, and have sites to build and plans to make every action eco-friendly and aligned with the encyclical Laudato si'. 

Diocese of Brooklyn
“I think that this is a good start. I mean, if we've done something with the Buddhists, maybe we'll do something with the other religions that is concrete, and assists the dicastery in fulfilling their mission to make sure that the dialogue is continual. You know, you can talk so much, but you need to do something at the same time.”

This is exactly what Bishop DiMarzio is doing by leading this project incorporating religious dialogue, environmental work and caring for the poor and elderly.