Shem Center For Interfaith Spirituality

Shem is an Aramaic word expressing the Divine radiance and splendor in all of creation.

 SHEM Center for Interfaith Spirituality offers the sojourners of all spiritual paths and faith traditions, as well as those who claim none, a sacred space where all are respectfully welcomed to encounter the wisdom found in the sacred traditions of the peoples of the world. 

A Moonlight Speech, October 11, 1962

Sixty years ago, the first night of the Second Vatican Council, Pope John XXIII came out on a balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square and gave his impromptu remarks now called "the moonlight speech.” I remember it well, making its way into the world via the news media. 

A Challenge Grant to Shem Center

Once again The Wolcott/Ebbeler Foundation, our supportive friends of many years, is offering you a way to have your donations to Shem Center increase by way of their matching gift.

The Wolcott/Ebbeler Foundation
Shem Center For Interfaith Spirituality

Shem Center Programs

Shem Center offers experiences of the prayer, meditation, rituals, and the wisdom of the peoples of the world. In doing so, each takes a place at the table with others whose spiritual tradition may be similar to or different from one’s own. 

Martin Luther King Jr.

"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."


An Interfaith Greeting of Peace


These three words in Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic are used in turn as greetings of peace by Jews, Christians and Muslims, the followers of the three Abrahamic religions.


Recognizing that the Divine Reality is not limited to any one expression of our journey with God, Shem Center takes its place with many others committed to the task of bringing peace into the world through understanding, respect and friendship. 

Shem Center For Interfaith Spirituality


We Have Family in Ukraine

Letter From Ukraine, August 7, 2023

By Joseph Kilikevice O.P. | August 8, 2023

Dear Sisters, Dear Brothers,

The phones are the first to go off. Almost every Ukrainian has an app installed on his smartphone informing us about the alarms in progress. A few seconds later, the sirens start shrieking. On Saturday this happened three different times, the last one during the evening Mass that I celebrated in the chapel of the Kyiv priory. We’ve gotten used to it, so there’s no panic, no nervousness, like there was at the beginning of the war. I doubt, however, whether anyone is capable of accepting the recurring alarms with complete calm. Especially at night, when the Russian drones and rockets fly over most often. I have to admit that for over a year and a half, almost every morning I have been starting off with checking the news, even when I’m not in Ukraine and don’t have sirens waking me up in the middle of the night.

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We Have Family in Ukraine

Letter From Ukraine, May 18, 2023

By Joseph Kilikevice O.P. | May 23, 2023

Dear sisters, dear brothers,

May nights in Kyiv are unusually restless this year. Especially the one between Monday and Tuesday. The noise made by the defenders of the Ukrainian sky as they shot at Russian rockets and drones was accompanied by car alarms. While the earth was shaking and the sky was pulsating with repeated explosions, they were going on and off maddeningly. It would be hard to find anyone in Kyiv who wasn’t up around 3am that morning. Mrs. Katia who cooks in our priory joined her neighbors in the staircase, searching for a safe place. In the building where she lives, the people were scared because during the first months of the war rockets had fallen there multiple times, and their windows had lost their glass panes. Now every shelling of the city causes them even more worry.

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We Have Family in Ukraine

Letter From Ukraine, April 3, 2023

By Joseph Kilikevice O.P. | April 5, 2023

Dear Sisters, Dear Brothers,

There is a painted icon of Our Lady Orans of Kyiv on the wall of a street bomb shelter in Kherson. These small, safe shelters made out of cement, located at bus stops, are called “hideouts” in Ukrainian. The original of the icon is found in a mosaic on the dome of the Sophia Sobor, one of the oldest and most important churches in Kyiv. Mary, raising both hands to heaven in a gesture signifying constant prayer, complete surrender to God, and subjection to his will, has become for us in these days a “hideout.” The image remind the inhabitants of the capital, as well as the inhabitants of the relentlessly shelled city of Kherson, of the words that begin the prayer of the Akathist, which is very popular in the Eastern tradition: “O Valiant Queen of the Heavenly Hosts, who has invincible power, save us from all miseries!”

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Shem Center for Interfaith Spirituality
708 North Harvey Avenue
Oak Park, IL 60302

(708) 848-1095

Photo Credits: Emory Mead, Stephen B. Starr, Joseph Kilikevice

The Shem Center for Interfaith Spirituality website is awarded a 2022 American Digital Design Award for excellence in design and user experience.

2022 American Digital Design Awards