Our new Executive Director & a puja blessing…

The Lord Ganesha or Ganesh is most popular as the god with the elephant head. His name means “Lord of the People”. In the Hindu pantheon, he is the god of knowledge, of all beginnings, and the remover of obstacles. He is the offspring of Shiva, the god of destruction and his consort the goddess Parvathi.

On the seventh day of my appointment as Executive Director it is most fitting for me to do a puja for Lord Ganesha. My wife, Ann McLean and our Board VP and Hindu Representative Anita Rangaswami visited the Bharatiya Ekta Mandir in central Phoenix. July 13 was also an opportune time of tribute and thanksgiving to all the Gurus in the feast of “Guru Purnima”.

I am thankful for your good wishes and your vote of confidence. You have given me the opportunity to serve. I am committed to the goals of the Arizona Interfaith Movementand hope that together we will meet the challenges, make use of our opportunities and assets of our diverse community. I know that we have a deep reservoir of kindness amongst us..

I have been blessed to practice my vocation as a teacher. For forty years I have been engaged in the classroom and higher education. The Executive Directorship will be a continuation of this lifelong life-long calling. To effectively achieve our goals, I am open to your suggestions and expressions of concern. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.

Starting on September 7, every Wednesday I will teach a course in REL100 – World Religions. World Religions will be our AZIFM’s Faith Forum. It will feature the wealth of interfaith resources in the community. The course offering will be a collaboration between AZIFM and the Liberal Arts at Phoenix College. The class meets from 11:30am – 12:45pm at the Campus Vista Room at Phoenix College Library (1202 West Thomas Road, Phoenix, AZ 85013). If you wish to audit the class, you may sign up for REL282AA – Service Learning in Religious Studies. Tuition information for the semester is as detailed on our website, www.AZIFM.org

When you take the course, you will have an adventure in learning and a path to understanding religions and cultures of the world and in our local community. We will meet on most Wednesdays of the Fall Semester (scheduled until December 14, 2022.) (Bonus: you’ll also learn why Ganesha has an elephant head.) For those taking the REL100 – World Religions for three credits, you will be able to earn the Global Awareness and Humanities requirements of the Arizona General Education curriculum (AGEC) and transfer these credits towards a bachelor’s degree in any major field. More information about this course, suggested resources and books, schedule, and speakers will be publicized on our website.

To make sure you are on our mailing list, please go to the homepage of our website to sign up: www.azifm.org and “Sign up for eNewsletters”

As Executive Director, I hope to fulfill the mission of the Arizona Interfaith Movement: to build bridges of understanding, respect, and support among diverse people of faith through education, dialogue, and service and the implementation of the Golden Rule.

Together, let us Live the Golden Rule
Promote interactions of kindness & civility.
Find common ground in the face of conflicts
Show Empathy and Respect to others; and
Be part of a peace solution.


Albert Celoza, Ph.D., Executive Director