Dirk Ficca was appointed a director of outreach for an upcoming event for the Parliament of World’s Religions in 1993. Around the month of February in 1993, I invited him to come to our Gurdwara in Palatine to introduce the 1993 Parliament Event to our audience. He talked for about ten minutes and introduced the event, its venue, dates, the mission, and invited the Sikh participation. I invited him to have Langar with us. He was impressed with the Sikh hospitality and equality and made a remark stating that “if he was not born a Christian, he would have been a Sikh”. Later he mentioned this in his book.
The event was a great success, people coming from all corners of the world representing almost all religions in the world. After the event, the planning group developed it into a full-fledged organization. He and Jim Kenney were appointed CO directors. We had the third Parliament event in Cape Town, South Africa. After this Dirk was appointed Executive Director and remained in this position for many years.
The current Parliament is the result of his interviewing over 100 people. He synthesized the views expressed by those he interviewed. The current mission of a just, peaceful and sustainable world came from these interviews.
He was a great leader in inter-religious work, he developed a great circle of friends for the Parliament who keep attending in spite of his absence. He was a hard worker and (as he told me) took writing courses to be the best writer he could be. He always had a ready-beaming smile on his face. I traveled with him to Scotland for the 2004 event site selection, to India in 2003 as a pre-parliament event, and again a couple of years later to conduct a conference in Amritsar paid for by Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh of Birmingham, UK.
He was a kind man, very friendly and caring. Inter-religious work was his passion and he excelled in promoting it. I will cherish our memories and will miss our annual lunch in an Indian restaurant where he always enjoyed Gulab Jamman, an Indian sweet.
May his soul rest in peace. Our heartfelt condolences to his family and BOT of the Parliament.
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