The New Mexico Interfaith Dialogue began in 1982 as an interpersonal dialogue between Albuquerque-area priest, Father Ernest Falardo, and Rabbi Paul Citrin of Congregation Albert, in response to the Vatican II document Nostra Aetate.
The conversation soon expanded to include educators within both faith traditions. During the early years, from 1984 to 1993, the Dialogue held educational programs and joint prayer services.
During those years as the Jewish-Catholic Dialogue, the purposes were: “to promote understanding and goodwill among the peoples of the Jewish and Catholic religions; to conduct religious, social and educational programs designed to increase community awareness and sensitivity toward issues relating to Christians and Jews; to engage in various forms of ecumenical dialogue and interaction; and to engage in such other similar activities permissible under law to nonprofit corporations of this nature and character.”
The first Jewish-Catholic Dialogue Colloquium was held in 1994. A colloquium is an hours-long gathering with knowledgeable speakers providing thought-provoking presentations on religious topics, followed by discussion among audience participants.
By 2012, the Dialogue and Colloquium included enough Christian non-Catholic participants that changing to a more inclusive name was determined to be appropriate. The organization changed its name to the Jewish-Christian Dialogue.
During Colloquia held 2006 to 2009, the presentations included all three Abrahamic faith perspectives: Jews, Christians and Muslims. In post-event evaluations, many attendees requested continuing and increased Muslim engagement. In 2015, the organization’s name was changed once again to the New Mexico Interfaith Dialogue, expanding the conversation to become more inclusive.