Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity events scheduled in the Diocese of Palm Beach

2014 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Events

Diocese of Palm Beach

Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations



Sunday, January 12th


          St. Mark’s Anglican Church in Vero Beach (Host) 4:00 PM

          “Unity Prayer Service”


Saturday, January 18th


          St. Ann Catholic Church in West Palm Beach (Host) 11:00 AM,

          St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in West Palm Beach, St. John Fisher Catholic           Church in West Palm Beach, Christ Evangelical Baptist Church in West Palm           Beach and Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach Gardens

          “Unity Prayer Service”



          Tropical Sands Christian Church in Palm Beach Gardens (Host) 1:00PM,

          Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in Juno Beach, Over View United Methodist Church         in Juno Beach, Nativity Lutheran Church in Palm Beach Gardens, St. George’s       Episcopal Church in Riviera Beach, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Palm Beach Gardens, More Than Conquerors Life Center in West Palm Beach and St. Paul        of the Cross Catholic Church in North Palm Beach

          “A Celebration of Christian Unity in Music and Ministry”


Monday, January 20th


          St. Joseph Catholic Church in Stuart (Host) 7:00 PM

          “Unity Prayer Service”


Tuesday, January 21st


     St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Boca Raton (Host) 7:00 PM,

     St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Boca Raton and The Hammock Street Church

     in Boca Raton

     “Unity Prayer Service”



     First United Methodist Church of Jupiter & Tequesta (Host) 7:00 PM,

     The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Tequesta, Church of Jesus

     Christ of Latter Day Saints of Jupiter, St. Peter Catholic Church in Jupiter and          First Presbyterian Church of Tequesta

          “Christian Unity Service”


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2014 Theme Announced

By: Fr Thomas Orians, SA
Associate Director – Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute

 2014 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
The 2014 theme for the week of Prayer for Christian Unity has been selected.  For the coming year the theme finds its origins in 1 Corinthians 1:1-17. The traditional period in the northern hemisphere for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is 18-25 January. Those dates were proposed in 1908 by Paul Wattson to cover the original days of the feasts of the Chair of St. Peter  (January 18) and the Conversion of  St. Paul (January 25) , and therefore have a symbolic significance.  The initial work on the theme for this year’s week of prayer material was prepared by a group of representatives from different parts of Canada, brought together at the invitation of the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism and the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism. The texts were approved at a meeting of the International Committee composed of members of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches, and the Pontifical Council for Promoting of Christian Unity. Being faithful to Christ’s desire for the unity of his disciples, has led to this year’s theme which focuses on Saint Paul’s provocative question in 1 Corinthians:“Has Christ Been Divided?”  We continue to be divided by doctrine, polity, and practice, and to maintain our own religious identity, yet our pilgrimage towards unity continues under God’s guidance.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Leader of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church to Visit Pope

VATICAN CITY, September 02, 2013 (from Zenit) - Moran Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, Catholicos of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, India, will visit Pope Francis this week.
The meeting will form part of the Catholicos' pastoral visit to orthodox faithful in Europe.
The Malankara Orthodox Church is divided into two communities: the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in full communion with the Orthodox Syrian Patriarch of Antioch, and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church led by His Holiness Moran Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, (automous orthodox Church). The Orthodox Syrian Church currently has over 2.5 million members in thirty dioceses, with more than 33 bishops and 1,700 priests.
Two important meetings took place between Pope John Paul II and the Catholicos Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Mathews I, in Rome in 1983 and in Kottayam in 1986; on the latter occasion the Mixed International Commission for Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church was established. In 1990, the common Christological Declaration was signed.
Since 1989 two parallel dialogues have taken place annually in Kerala, southern India; one with each of the two communities. These dialogues relate to questions on three main themes: the history of the Church in India, ecclesiology, and common witness.
The Catholicos Moran Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, as well as meeting with the Holy Father on Thursday, will visit the tomb of the Apostle Peter and will be received by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ecumenical and Interreligious Support for Pope Francis

The Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs received many notes of support for Pope Francis from our friends. We include their messages and links to the full texts, where possible, below.

Jewish dialogue partners

"We congratulate Pope Francis ...There is much in his record that reassures us about the future. Cardinal Bergoglio maintained a close relationship with the Jewish community in Argentina. He celebrated various Jewish holidays with the Argentinian Jewish community, including Chanukah where he lit a candle on the menorah, attended a Buenos Aires synagogue for Slichot, a pre-Rosh Hashana service, the Jewish New Year, as well as a commemoration of Kristallnacht, the wave of violent Nazi attacks against Jews before World War II. He expressed strong solidarity with Argentina’s Jewish community following the deadly 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish community center. "
Rabbi Abraham H. Foxman
National Director Anti-Defamation League
"As brothers and sisters in interreligious understanding, your friends at AJC extend congratulations to Pope Francis and the Catholic Church at this auspicious moment of papal transition... Our gratitude and prayers are with the Pope Emeritus, who built upon the monumental achievements of Pope John Paul II in the fruitful arena of Catholic-Jewish relations, solidifying the strong foundation of the Second Vatican Council's Nostra Aetate. Our hopes and aspirations are with Pope Francis, who, no doubt, will sustain and expand the positive trajectory of Catholic-Jewish relations."
Rabbi Noam E. Marans
Director of Interreligious Relations for the American Jewish Committee (AJC)
"Mazal Tov and my sincerest congratulations on the election of His Holiness Pope Francis! I am optimistic that Pope Francis will be as good a friend to the Jewish community world-wide as he has been to the Jews of Argentina – and as you have with the Jewish community in America."
Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky
Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue Jewish Theological Seminary

Interreligious Dialogue Partners

"Our prayerful felicitations to the new Pope and to the Catholic world. We hold His Holiness Pope Francis in prayers and look forward to his stewardship of the Catholic Church, and to his contribution to the world towards a path of 'love and fraternity' as he puts it. The World Sikh Council - American Region looks forward to a continuing friendship and dialogue with our Catholic brothers and sisters."
Dr. Satpal Singh
Chairperson of the World SIkh Council - America Region
"We wish him all the best. We hope and pray that he will continue building bridges of understanding among Catholics and Muslims and among the people of all faiths."
Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi
Chairman of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California

"In these days of religious conflict in far too many places, we reach out to the Church, and to Pope Francis, with open hearts, friendship and a desire to live and work together as fellow servants of God. We pray for Pope Francis' long life and strong health. We pray that his papacy will be a time of rekindled faith and cooperation among all people of faith throughout the world. And, we pray that the Church, under his direction, will continue on the path of dialogue and building coalitions among all those who humbly seek God's mercy and shelter as the ultimate goal of life."
Anuttama Dasa
Vice Chair of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON)
Fellow Christians
"I rejoice with you and all my Catholic brothers and sisters on the election of a new pope! Prayers ascending for him and for the work of our churches in witnessing to what it means to be the body of Christ."
Pastor Susan Beck
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
"I am very happy at the name Cardinal Bergoglio chose: that of Saint Francis. This name signifies a desire for service and compassion that even President Obama recognized, when he congratulated the new pope as a 'champion of the poor.' Yet as important as Cardinal Bergoglio's heart for the downtrodden may be, much more important is his new task of steering the Catholic Church back to the original teachings of Jesus ... He will certainly be in my prayers."
Johann Christoph Arnold
Senior Minister of the Bruderhof Community

International commentary

"In the joy and jubilation of Your election as the pastoral leader of Roman Catholic Christians throughout the world, we are communicating with Your Holiness in order to express to You and the devout faithful of Your blessed Church our wholehearted congratulations and sincerest salutations on this special day ... May God grant Your Holiness many years of healthy and fruitful ministry to serve His people with Your distinctive humility, simplicity, and charity."

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

Archbishop of Constantinople
Read the original letter. . .

"It is with joy that I convey to You the congratulations of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America on the occasion of Your election as Pope. You enter Your ministry at a time of many challenges to the Christian faith and the Christian vision of life ...Your example as Archbishop of Buenos Aires has told the world that Your commitment is to the Gospel of Christ, its truth and its love. Your witness during Your first steps as Pope confirms this commitment strongly and without reservation. We pray for Your Holiness, for Your ministry and mission."

His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon
Primate of the Orthodox Church in America
Read the original letter. . .

"Under your predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, the relationships between our churches received a new momentum and were characterized by a positive dynamism. I sincerely hope that Your Holiness would promote co-operation between our two churches in the spirit of brotherly love and mutual understanding...Orthodox and Catholics should be determined to combine their efforts to protect harassed and persecuted Christians in various parts of the world, as these people need our support and aid. We need to labour together for the affirmation of traditional moral values in modern secular societies."
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia
Read the full statement. . .

"We fondly remember our meetings and prayers together with Your Holiness in Argentina, during which we came to know you as a good shepherd, and a courageous, wise, and just Church Leader. We are happy to avow Your sincere love and affection shown towards the Armenian people...It is our prayer that our cooperative efforts will continue to grow into the future and that the relations between our two sister Churches will blossom with new achievements for the sake of meeting the challenges facing humanity, and in promoting and fortifying the dialogue and solidarity between nations and religions."
His Holiness Karekin II
Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians
Read more. . .

"We are convinced that the genuine moral values, based on the bi-millenary Christian faith, will continue to be central in your activity as the Primate of the Roman Catholic Church, taking into account the work that Your Holiness has already undertaken during your pastoral activity in Argentina. This mission is also a priority in our Orthodox Church. Therefore, in this context, it is very necessary to cooperate in order to realise solidarity with those who suffer most from the economical and spiritual crisis of contemporary world, in order to give a common witness to the world, in the spirit of the merciful love of our Lord Jesus Christ."
His Beatitude Daniel
Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church
Read more. . .

"I look forward to meeting Pope Francis, and to walking and working together to build on the consistent legacy of our predecessors. May the love of Christ unite us, and intensify our service in a genuine and fruitful ecumenism that can be a blessing for the Body of Christ throughout the world. Pope Francis is well known as a compassionate pastor of real stature who has served the poor in Latin America, and whose simplicity and holiness of life is remarkable. He is an evangelist, sharing the love of Christ which he himself knows."
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby
Read the full statement. . .

"We write to offer to you our best wishes and commitment of prayer as you answer the call of the Church—through the voice of the Cardinals—to lead the Roman Catholic Church ... As the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), we have been committed to seeking the unity of the church and the reconciliation of the Christian family. Most recently, we entered into an historic agreement with the Unites States Conference of Catholic Bishops to mutually recognize our churches' baptisms. We are mindful that it is our baptism into Christ that serves as the foundation of our quest for Christian unity."
Gradye Parsons
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church U.S.A.
Read the full statement. . .

"Please accept our congratulations on becoming the 266th Bishop of Rome and head of the Roman Catholic Church. As you take up the burden of responsibility, we signal to you that we hope to develop the friendly relations and constructive dialogue that were established under your predecessor, H.H. Pope Benedict XVI...We hope these relations will continue to improve and lead to increased and sincere friendship and harmony between Muslim and Christian communities throughout the world, which constitute the two largest religions on earth comprising together some 55% of the world’s population."
H.R.H. Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad,
Chief Advisor to H.M. King Abdullah II for Religious and Cultural Affairs,
and Personal Envoy of H.M. the King,
Chairman of the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought.
Read the full Letter from A Common Word to His Holiness Pope Francis. . .

“May I offer you my greetings and sense of joy on your historic election as the Pope. Although I am not very familiar with many Catholic saints, I do know about St Francis, having visited Assisi and attended inter-religious gatherings there. His discipline, the simplicity of his way of life and his love for all creatures are qualities that I find deeply inspiring. I am moved to know that his is the name you have chosen for your papacy ... I am very pleased to have met and enjoyed friendly conversations with your immediate predecessors and, for the last forty years or so, have participated in fruitful exchanges with my Christian brothers and sisters. I hope that I may have the honour of calling on you too sometime in the near future.”
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet

"Dear Pope Francis, We received the news of your election this evening with joy...We are touched by your humility. The name you have chosen is a sign for us that attention to the plight of the poor and justice for all people will be important for you...We would like to see your Papal tenure as an era of commitment to furthering how our churches live out the gift of Christian unity that we have received from the Lord."
Setri Nyomi
General Secretary of the World Communion of Reformed Churches

Friday, March 29, 2013

Pope Francis’s address to Religious Leaders

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

First of all, heartfelt thanks for what my Brother Andrew told us. Thank you so much! Thank you so much!

It is a source of particular joy to meet you today, delegates of the Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Orthodox Churches and Ecclesial Communities of the West. Thank you for wanting to take part in the celebration that marked the beginning of my ministry as Bishop of Rome and Successor of Peter.
Yesterday morning, during the Mass, through you, I recognised the communities you represent. In this manifestation of faith, I had the feeling of taking part in an even more urgent fashion the prayer for the unity of all believers in Christ, and together to see somehow prefigured the full realisation of full unity which depends on God’s plan and on our own loyal collaboration.

I begin my Apostolic Ministry in this year during which my venerable Predecessor, Benedict XVI, with true inspiration, proclaimed the Year of Faith for the Catholic Church. With this initiative, that I wish to continue and which I hope will be an inspiration for every one’s journey of faith, he wished to mark the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, thus proposing a sort of pilgrimage towards what for every Christian represents the essential: the personal and transforming relationship with Jesus Christ, Son of God, who died and rose for our salvation. This effort to proclaim this eternal treasure of faith to the people of our time, lies at the heart of the Council’s message.

Together with you I cannot forget how much the council has meaning for the ecumenical journey. I like to remember the words that Blessed John XXIII, of whom we will soon mark 50 years since his death, when he gave his memorable inauguration speech: “The Catholic Church therefore considers it her duty to work actively so that there may be fulfilled the great mystery of that unity, which Christ Jesus invoked with fervent prayer from His heavenly Father on the eve of His sacrifice. She rejoices in peace, knowing well that she is intimately associated with that prayer”.

Yes, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all be intimately united to our Saviour’s prayer at the Last Supper, to his invocation: ut unum sint. We call merciful Father to be able to fully live the faith that we have received as a gift on the day of our Baptism, and to be able to it free, joyful and courageous testimony. The more we are faithful to his will, in thoughts, in words and in deeds, the more we will truly and substantially walk towards unity.

For my part, I wish to assure, in the wake of my predecessors, the firm wish to continue on the path of ecumenical dialogue, and I thank you, the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, for the help it continues to offer in my name, for this noble cause. I ask you, dear brothers and sisters, to bring my cordial greetings to the Churches and Christian communities who are represented here. And I ask you for a special prayer for me so that I can be a pastor according to the heart of Christ.

And now I turn to you, distinguished representatives of the Jewish people, to whom we are bound by a very special spiritual bond, from the moment that, as the Second Vatican Council said, “thus the Church of Christ acknowledges that according to God’s saving design, the beginnings of her faith and her election are found already among the Patriarchs, Moses and the prophets”.(Decree Nostra Aetate, 4). I thank you for your presence and trust that with the help of the Almighty, we can continue that fruitful fraternal dialogue that the Council wished for. And that it is actually achieved, bringing many fruits, especially during the last decades.

I greet and thank cordially all of you, dear friends belonging to other religious traditions; firstly the Muslims, who worship the one living and merciful God, and call upon Him in prayer. I really appreciate your presence, and in it I see a tangible sign of the wish to grow in recipricol trust and in cooperation for the common good of humanity.

The Catholic Church is aware of the importance of the promotion of friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions – this I wish to repeat this: the promotion of friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions – this is attested evident also in the valuable work undertaken by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

The Church is equally aware of the responsibility that each of us bring towards our world, and to the whole of creation, that we must love and protect. And we can do a lot for the good of the less fortunate, for those who are weak and suffering, to promote justice, to promote reconciliation, to build peace. But above all, we must keep alive in our world the thirst for the absolute, and must not allow the vision of the human person with a single dimension to prevail, according to which man is reduced to what he produces and to what he consumes: this is one most dangerous threats of our times.

We know how much violence has been provoked in recent history by the attempt to eliminate God and the divine from the horizon of humanity, and we feel the need to witness in our societies the original openness to transcendence that is inherent in the human heart. In this we feel the closeness also of those men and women who, while not belonging to any religious tradition, feel, however the need to search for the truth, the goodness and the beauty of God, and who are our precious allies in efforts to defend the dignity of man, in the building of a peaceful coexistence between peoples and in the careful protection of creation.

Dear friends, thank you for your presence. To all, I offer my cordial and fraternal greetings.
 Story reprinted from Catholic Herald 2013. Registered in England and Wales

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

2013 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Theme

wcc logo   World Council of Churches
A worldwide fellowship of 349 churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
At least once a year, many Christians become aware of the great diversity of ways of adoring God. Hearts are touched, and people realize that their neighbours' ways are not so strange.  
The event that touches off this special experience is something called the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Traditionally celebrated between 18-25 January (in the northern hemisphere) or at Pentecost (in the southern hemisphere), the Week of Prayer enters into congregations and parishes all over the world. Pulpits are exchanged, and special ecumenical worship services are arranged. 
Ecumenical partners in a particular region are asked to prepare a basic text on a biblical theme. Then an international group with WCC-sponsored (Protestant and Orthodox) and Roman Catholic participants edits this text and ensures that it is linked with the search for the unity of the church.  
The text is jointly published by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and WCC, through the WCC's Commission on Faith and Order, which also accompanies the entire production process of the text. The final material is sent to member churches and Roman Catholic dioceses, and they are invited to translate the text and contextualize it for their own use.

Theme for 2013
"What does God require of us?"      (cf. Micah 6:6-8)