Tag Archives: ecumenism

The posture by which we enter into the work of Ecumenism

French Dominican theologian Cardinal Yves-Marie Congar once said: “We
pass through the doors of ecumenism only on our knees.”

Types of Ecumenism

Theological: concerns with regard to matters of doctrine, Liturgy and theology;

Local: promotes the
collaboration and cooperation between Christian communities living in the same

Social: refers to
when the entire community is invited to participate in an activity to help
others; matters of social concern affect everybody;

Spiritual: encourages
praying together as in the Week of Prayer, for the intention of Christian unity and one’s own conversion.

A Century of Prayer for Christian Unity

A Century of
Prayer for Christian Unity
is a celebration of the 100-year history of the Week
of Prayer.  It is a useful resource for understanding the theology and practice of  prayer in common for the intention of the reconciliation of Christians.

Contributors are
among the best informed Anglican, Roman Catholic, Baptist, and Reformed
theologians. Each essayist offers significant insights into the history,
theology, and spirituality of the Week of Prayer in particular, and of
ecumenical prayer in general.

The book is
available through the Graymoor Book & Gift Center: 845-424-3671, ext. 3155
or www.graymoorbooks.com.

What is Ecumenism?

Restoring unity among all Christians: Unity in Diversity, Diversity in Unity

by Fr. John J. Keane, SA

Ecumenism refers to “the restoration of unity among all
Christians.” It comes from the Greek word oikoumene meaning the whole inhabited earth and is inspired by
Jesus’ prayer to his father, “that they may all be one” (John 17:21). Unity is
seen as a gift from God that we already have, but that we must realize and
accept. Christians have been encouraging common prayer, often referred to as
spiritual ecumenism, since the 17th Century as a means to achieve unity. The
Second Vatican Council’s
Decree on Ecumenism called “prayer the soul of the ecumenical movement”
and called the “reconciliation of all Christians in the unity of the one and
only Church of Christ” a “holy objective.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church encourages ecumenism and urges dialogue among
theologians and meetings among Christians of the different churches and
communities and collaboration among Christians in various areas of service to
mankind as expressions of Christian unity (820-822).

In Working for Unity,
Fr. Emmanuel Sullivan, SA and his co-author Dennis Rudd write, “It cannot be
said too often that the quest for unity does not imply a need, nor even a
desire, for uniformity. Diversity is a mark of the Holy Spirit…and God, who is
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is the very model of unity in diversity, diversity
in unity.”

Blessed Maria Gabriella dell’Unità (Sagghedù)

…that they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:21).

In simplicity of heart I gladly offer everything, O Lord.
The Lord put me on this path, he will remember to sustain me in battle.
To His mercy I entrust my frailty.
I saw in front of me a big cross…,

I thought that my sacrifice was nothing in comparison to His.
I offered myself entirely and I do not withdraw the given word.
God’s will whatever it may be, this is my joy, my happiness, my peace.
I will never be able to thank enough.
I cannot say but these words:” My God, your Glory.”

Blessed Maria Gabriella

Blessed Maria Gabriella Sagghedu.jpgPraying for unity is not a matter reserved only to those who actually experience the lack of unity among Christians. In the deep personal dialogue which each of us must carry on with the Lord in prayer, concern for unity cannot be absent. Only in this way, in fact, will that concern fully become part of the reality of our life and of commitments we have taken on in the Church. It was in order to reaffirm this duty that I set before the faithful of the Catholic Church a model which I consider exemplary, the model of a Trappistine Sister, Blessed Maria Gabriella of Unity, whom I beatified on 25 January 1983. Sister Maria Gabriella, called by her vocation to be apart from the world, devoted her life to meditation and prayer centered on Chapter 17 of St. John’s Gospel and offered her life for Christian Unity. This is truly the cornerstone of all prayer: the total and unconditional offering of one’s life to the Father; through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. The example of Sister Mara Gabriella is instructive; it helps us to understand that there are no special times, situations, or places of prayer for unity. Christ’s prayer to the Father is offered as a model for everyone, always and everywhere.

(Pope John Paul II, Ut unum sint, 1995, 27)

Read more of the blessed’s life here and here.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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