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The Legacy of Rev. Dirk Ficca

Rev. Ficca at the closing of the Sharing Sacred Spaces program in Chicago, USA


Dirk Lewis Ficca, 66, of Oak Park, IL, passed away on Tuesday, December 21, 2021. Born in Iowa City, IA, he grew up in Bloomington, IL, and married Lynda Hoffman in Benton Harbor, MI, in 1984. Later, he moved to Oak Park, where he became a father to two sons, and resided for 26 years. Throughout his career, Dirk had many roles in the global interfaith movement; as a minister, professor, and thought leader.

The legacy of Rev. Dirk Ficca in the global interfaith movement cannot be overstated. At the Parliament of the World’s Religions, we are especially thankful for his service to the faith and spiritual communities, which was reflected in his steadfast championing of the interfaith movement.

Rev. Ficca served as the Executive Director of the Parliament, organizing the 1999 Parliament Convening in Cape Town, the 2004 Parliament Convening in Barcelona, and the 2009 Parliament Convening in Melbourne. 

At the time of his passing, Dirk was the Executive Director of the Twin Cities Social Cohesion Initiative and Senior Advisor to the Church of Sweden and the World of Neighbors Initiative. Previously, he served as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Benton Harbor. He also previously taught at DePaul University, Garrett Evangelical-Theological Seminary, and the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago.

His life’s work will remain forever central to the history of the Parliament of the World’s Religions and the global interfaith movement at large.

In Memory of Rev. Dirk Ficca

  • “Deepest condolences to Dirks family. He was a person of high principles and a great promoter of interfaith collaboration. As a former trustee of the Parliament I saw his dedication first hand. He has gone far too soon. May his soul Rest In Peace. Om shanti Om”

    – Anju Bhargava

  • “Our hearts are saddened that Dirk left us so early in his life. The world is a bit smaller when a good man passes. However, his work and efforts for the cause of interreligious dialog and harmony is his legacy.”

    – S.S. Shiva Singh Khalsa

  • “Beautifully written tribute to the memory of Rev. Dirk Ficca, unfortunately I did not have the privilege of knowing him. We thank him for his services over the years in guiding and strengthening the organization. May his soul rest in peace.”

    – S.S. Shiva Singh Khalsa

    A Reflection from John T. Pawlikowski

    “My permanent remembrance of Dirk involved his profound commitment to social cohesion, as both a possibility and a mandate for religious communities to pursue. Human society in our time is badly in need of forces that build and promote social cohesion. Dirk was convinced that religious communities were one of the few institutions that had the capacity to undertake this task.”

    A Reflection from Dr. Balwant S. Hansra

    “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.”

    We invite you to share your memories of Rev. Ficca to help us in honoring his legacy at the Parliament of the World’s Religions.

    Email us at with “Honoring Rev. Ficca” in the subject line.