Ecumenism shines at IECWednesday, June 13th, 2012
Monday was one of the unique days of the IEC as ecumenism took centre stage.
In his catechesis in the arena at the RDS in Dublin, Brother Alois (pictured) spoke of Taizé founder Brother Roger.
“In his last book, published a few weeks before his death, Brother Roger wrote Christ is communion ... He did not come to earth to start one more religion, but to offer to all a communion in God ... Communion is one of the most beautiful names of the Church.”
Dr Maria Voce, Focolare, in her testimony spoke of her time in Turkey and how important it is to have unity with other Christians, “I spent 10 years in Turkey. I knew neither the culture nor the language of that country. Often I didn’t know what to do there. News from the Christian world didn’t reach us. External signs of religion were absent. Churches were hidden. The Sunday Church bells were silent,” she said.
“And yet, I recall many moments when I experienced the beauty of the family that Jesus came to create on earth. For instance, in our desire to show others how we really wanted to be close to them, we went to meet with the leaders of the various Christian Churches there.”
She spoke of how, by living the sentence of the gospel, “As I have loved you, so you should love one another,” (Jn 13:34), love becomes reciprocal, and is a cornerstone in the communion and fellowship among the baptised.
“It makes possible the presence of Jesus among Christians united in his name; For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Mt 18:20). His presence among us inserts us more completely, more vitally, into the presence of Jesus in the Church; it makes us Church. Jesus between a Catholic and an Anglican who love one another, between an Anglican and an Orthodox, between an Armenian and a Reformed Church member, between a Methodist and a Quaker.
“This presence of the Jesus Risen is a very powerful impetus to the journey of Christians towards full communion and fellowship,” she said.
She concluded by quoting the late David Stevens, a Presbyterian from Northern Ireland and former leader of the Corrymeela community who said, “The Gospel invites us into the space created by Christ and to find there those who were previously our enemies. This is a vision of a new humanity reconciled in Christ and living together in a new community.”
On Thursday June 14 at 5:00pm Dr Voce will be a guest speaker at a prayer service in Belfast with the theme Building communion through a culture of trust. The service is hosted by Very Rev. Cannon John Mann, Dean of St Anne’s Cathedral, who wants it to be part of the Eucharistic Congress.
A Liturgy of Word and Water followed the testimony of Maria Voce presided over by Archbishop Michael Jackson; Anglican Archbishop of Dublin and Glendalough, Rev. Kenneth Lindsay; President of the Methodist Church, Bishop Brian Farrell; Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, Fr George Zavershinsky; Russian Orthodox Church Ireland, and Deacon Martin O’Connor; St Anne’s Church of Ireland, Dawson Street.
Speaking during the liturgy of Word and Water, Archbishop Jackson said, “Baptism enables distinct Christian communities to have not simply parallel lives but a shared life ‘conjoined in the missionary purpose of God’ (The Toronto Report). The ministry and mission of God in the church for the world is the responsibility of all God’s people.”
Fr Brendan Leahy who was present in the Arena for the afternoon told ciNews that this occasion is very important in the life of ecumenism in Ireland; how on the 50th Eucharistic Congress and the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican council that all of the major church leaders came together for a service. It signalled how serious people are about ecumenism.
by Ann Marie Foley