Georgetown University, a private university in Washington D.C. and the oldest Catholic and Jesuit college in the nation, has made history by becoming the first college in the U.S. to welcome a Hindu priest as a chaplain.
Brahmachari Vrajvihari Sharan joins Georgetown as their first Hindu priest after the school felt the need to show religious representation on their chaplain staffing given their over 300 Hindu students at their different schools.
According to The Washington Post, Sharan trained as a priest in India, earned his PhD at the University of Edinburgh and has taught in London as well as at the University of Edinburgh since 2010 as an Honorary Hindu Chaplain.
A sophomore at Georgetown, Priyanka Dinakar told The Post that she is looking forward to the opportunity to acquire a deeper and more thorough understanding of her religion.
It is important to the Jesuit University that students grow spiritually during their time at Georgetown – which is why they so readily offer religious figureheads to their diverse student population.
Sharan told the Georgetown Voice that he is excited to engage in discussions about Hinduism.
“(Georgetown) has one of the most developed interfaith ministries I think I’ve ever seen,” Sharan said to the Georgetown Voice. “Georgetown University was able to develop a very thriving, very dynamic and ... very active interfaith model that I think many places want to emulate.”
It may be surprising that the first college to bring on a Hindu priest to their religious staff be a historically Catholic university, but hopefully their actions will inspire additional colleges to follow in their lead.
Lead Image Credit: Ana Ferreira via Flickr Creative Commons