The Diocese of Calgary, St. Luke’s Catholic Church, and Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church will be partnering in a series of joint prayer through Lent 2017. Our services of joint prayer will focus on the theme of the reconciliation that Protestants and Catholics must make as followers of Jesus Christ. We will recall his great prayer for both of our denominations to “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” This does not negate the important aspects of the doctrinal differences between Catholics and Lutherans, but only serves to further our working towards perfect unity in Christ and between Christians which must begin with acts of love and charity recommended by the Gospel.
Pope Francis in his Homily on the occasion of the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation said: “We ask him, ‘Lord, help us by your grace to be more closely united to you and thus, together, to bear a more effective witness of faith, hope and love.’ This is also a moment to thank God for the efforts of our many brothers and sisters from different ecclesial communities who refused to be resigned to division, but instead kept alive the hope of reconciliation among all who believe in the one Lord.” We will say prayers of supplication and give thanks with our Protestant brothers and sisters and as we continue the work of Christian unity in the Diocese of Calgary.
Join us on Wednesdays, March 8 and March 22 at Hope Lutheran, 3527 Boulton Road NW; and on Wednesdays, March 15 and March 29 at St. Luke’s Church, 1566 Northmount Drive NW at 6:00 p.m. for a free “Soup and Bread” supper followed by the prayer service at 7:00 p.m. each of the four evenings.
SEPTEMBER 18, 2016: The day began with a 3 km walk down the hill to Mount St. Francis. I don’t believe the conversation has changed much over the years from the original pilgrimages to the Holy Land. People talked about their families, about their friends, their health, politics and they talked about the beauty of nature as they walked to the Mount. They also talked about God, about how lucky they were to be healthy enough to walk and to have all of their senses to experience the beauty around them. This was a wonderful way to start off the day. I think St. Francis would have applauded.
The second annual Trails to the Mount was under the canopy of an Alberta blue sky, a mostly sunny day with very few raindrops. The surroundings of nature and animals were present to show how beautiful our environment is with the creatures we share it with. Saint Francis’ life was one of service, and it exemplifies love of all creation and our responsibilities to care for it.
In the spirit of ecumenism, Catholic Bishop Fred Henry and Anglican Archbishop Greg Kerr-Wilson with Britton Mockridge, Susan Campbell and the friars relayed stories and scriptural readings sharing Pope Francis’ commitment to protecting the environment and helping the marginalized no matter how difficult the task. They stressed the ongoing need for compassion, caring and outreach to those who are hurting among us. They encouraged groups such as ours–Mount Saint Francis Friars and the Order of Saint Lazarus–to continue their work together, and as individuals, to make a difference in the world and to join with other Christians with an ecumenical spirit. The music by Carrie Monk and Carrie Stoesz brought scriptural truths to life through singing All Creatures of God and King as well as the chosen prayer of the United Nations a few years ago, The Prayer of Saint Francis. The words of this song put the day into a crystal clear reality for all – we know what we have to do.
The day proceeded with the blessing of the animals. We could see how the people who attended showed love and care to their animals. The reverence they showed was very evident as they approached the friar performing the blessing. Some of the older people said that their animal helps them to exercise and reduces their feelings of isolation. As many Catholic/Christian celebrations are associated with great food and refreshments, Mr. Martin Doyle’s food wagon continued this age old tradition with humour, service and caring.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace... ~ St. Francis
To mark the 500th Anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation, Lutherans and Catholics in Calgary are about to embark on a year of festivities.
The Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church will hold a joint ecumenical commemoration of the Reformation on October 31, 2016 in Lund and Malmö, Sweden. It will begin with a liturgy in Lund Cathedral and continue with a public event in Malmö Arena that will be open to wider participation.
We are all invited to access the live-stream broadcast of the joint ecumenical service of common prayer led by Pope Francis, LWF President Bishop Dr. Munib A. Younan, and LWF General Secretary Rev. Dr. Martin Junge in Lund, Sweden. This event will highlight the solid ecumenical developments between Catholics and Lutherans and the joint gifts received through dialogue. See www.lund2016.net for details on when and how to participate on October 31.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity will be observed from January 18 to 25, 2017. The theme is Reconciliation – The Love of Christ Compels Us [2 Corinthians 5:14-20]. A HymnFest hosted by the Lutheran Synod of Alberta and the Territories is scheduled to take place in March, and finally, Reformation Day will be celebrated in October 2017 and be marked by a common prayer service with our local bishops. Further information on all events will be continually updated on the website http://www.500reformation.ca and in upcoming editions of The Carillon. For more information, please contact Deacon Adrian Martens, tel: (403) 218-5528 or email: email@example.com.
This month Calgary will be hosting a rare and prestigious ecumenical gathering: the annual meeting of the International Dialogue Commission between the Roman Catholic Church and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). We are excited that Calgary was chosen to host this year’s meeting. The Commission is one of several international dialogue groups conducted by the Holy See’s ecumenical department (the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity) in conjunction with an ecumenical partner here, the Council for Christian Unity of The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Members of the Commission are from Canada, the United States, England, Australia, Puerto Rico and Italy (Rome).
For more than 25 years, Disciples of Christ and Roman Catholics have been in dialogue, looking to the hope of realizing full visible unity in Christ. In that time, they have produced four Agreed Statements exploring various facets of the Christian tradition:
- Catholicity and Apostolicity (1977 - 1982)
- The Church as Communion in Christ (1982 - 1992)
- Receiving and Handing on the Faith: the Mission and Responsibility of the Church (1993 - 2002)
- The Presence of Christ in the Church, with special reference to the Eucharist (2003 - 2009)
Those engaged in the current phase of the dialogue that began in 2013 are exploring the theme, Christians Formed and Transformed by the Eucharist.
In addition to the dialogue meeting times, the Commission hopes to learn about the local Roman Catholic and Disciples of Christ institutions/ministries and to share the work of the Commission with local churches. Please see Diocesan Dates, June 19 and 20, on page 20.
On April 9, I attended the Interfaith Conference featuring a panel including Bishop Henry and Deacon Adrian Martens of our Diocese, and missionaries, Maulana Taha Syed, and Maulana Shaurch Abid, who shared about their respective perspectives on the Noble Life of Jesus. This was my first visit to a mosque. Most noteworthy, is the hospitality of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community as they welcomed us, their Christian visitors, so warmly. A meal was served to the 1000+ in attendance!
Deacon Adrian explained that, “The evening was important because the speakers identified areas where we agree, but also the areas that are importantly different; and touched on the essential differences between Islam and Christianity.” Each of the 15- minute talks was very well presented. The Muslims shared the story of Jesus, a prophet, who fulfilled his mission in life; and also a significant discrepancy about the Jesus’ death and why they do not believe that Jesus is God.
Bishop Henry balanced the differing talks with his personal witness of Jesus in his life. He shared the Apostle’s Creed as an introduction to our beliefs pertaining to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus; and then boldly concluded his talk with a quote from C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, that tells us that we must make a choice: “Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”