The Holy Spirit and the Environmental Crisis
St. Andrew's Winter Refresher

In a time of environmental crisis, how is the Holy Spirit present and at work in the world and how is it calling and empowering us to action?

Those are some of the questions to be explored with the help of Mark Wallace, a theologian who connects Christian faith to the environmental crisis, during St. Andrew's College's Winter Refresher 2015 being held March 5-7.

For more information and a list of workshops download the Winter Refresher brochure and poster.

Evangelical-Roman Catholic Common Statement of Faith

After three years of dialogue, the Evangelical-Roman Catholic dialogue in Saskatoon has produced a statement of our shred faith. The text is intended for study over the next months in preparation for a decision to affirm the text next spring.

Download and read the Common Statement of Faith

Join one of the three study sessions on Oct 16, Dec 4, or Feb 5.

• Feb 5, 7-9pm at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1636 Acadia Drive, Saskatoon

Taizé Prayer for Christian Unity

Taizé Prayer originated in the ecumenical monastery of Taizé in France. Come to experience a simple form of meditative prayer with Taizé music, Scripture reading, and a time of silence in a candle-lit atmosphere.

Taizé Prayer for Christian Unity will be held:

1st Tuesday of each month from 7:30-8:30 pm in the Queen of Peace Chapel at the Cathedral of the Holy Family [September to June only]

2nd Tuesday of each month from 8-9 pm in the Chapel at Queen's House of Retreats

See more Ecumenical and Interreligious events in our calendar Voir plus d'événements œcuméniques ou interreligieux dans notre calendrier

Francis and Bartholomew issue resounding, historic calls for church reunification
November 30, 201430 novembre 2014Add a commentÉcrire un commentaire

In this photo provided by Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Patriarch Bartholomew I, right, kisses Pope Francis' head during an ecumenical service at the Patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul, Saturday, November 29, 2014
In this photo provided by Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Patriarch Bartholomew I, right, kisses Pope Francis’ head during an ecumenical service at the Patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul, Saturday, November 29, 2014

by Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, leaders of the millennium-long separated Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, have issued resounding and historic calls for the reunification of their global communities.

Speaking to one another after a solemn Orthodox divine liturgy in St. George, an historic Christian center, Sunday, both leaders pledged to intensify efforts for full unity of their churches, saying such unity already exists among Christians dying in conflicts in the Middle East.

For his part, Francis made what appears to be the strongest and most encompassing call yet from a Catholic pontiff for unity. Seeking to assure Orthodox leaders that restoration of full communion between the churches would respect Eastern traditions, he said reunion would “not signify the submission of one to the other, or assimilation.”

“I want to assure each one of you here that, to reach the desired goal of full unity, the Catholic church does not intend to impose any conditions except that of the shared profession of faith,” said the pope.

Continuing, Francis said: “The one thing that the Catholic church desires, and that I seek as Bishop of Rome, ‘the church which presides in charity,’ is communion with the Orthodox churches.”

Bartholomew called the process for reunification of the two churches — started by Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras with a meeting in Jerusalem 50 years ago — “irreversible” and said the two communities have no option but to join together.

“We no longer have the luxury of isolated action,” said Bartholomew. “The modern persecutors of Christians do not ask which church their victims belong to. The unity that concerns us is regrettably already occurring in certain regions of the world through the blood of martyrdom.”

The addresses by Bartholomew and Francis came on the last day of the pope’s stay in Turkey, which the pontiff has been visiting since Friday. They spoke to one another at the patriarchal church of St. George, where Bartholomew and the ecumenical patriarchate are centered.

The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, which together are estimated to have some 2 billion adherents, have been separated since the year 1054. Serious efforts for reconciliation between the traditions did not start until the 1964 meeting of Paul and Athenagoras, which eventually led to the opening of joint theological dialogues on reunification in 1980.

Francis and Bartholomew also issued a joint declaration following the liturgy Sunday, pledging “to intensify our efforts to promote the full unity of all Christians, and above all Catholics and Orthodox.”

But the strongest words of the day came in the leaders’ earlier speeches to one another, in which they both stressed the similarities between their persons and the focus of their communities and made poetic and serious commitments to seeking unity.

Saying that as a result of the Paul and Athenagoras meeting “the flow of history has literally changed direction,” Bartholomew said until then “cold love” between the churches had been rekindled and their desire to reunify “galvanized.”

“Thenceforth, the road to Emmaus has opened up before us – a road that, while perhaps lengthy and sometimes even rugged, is nonetheless irreversible,” said the patriarch.

Asking a series of rhetorical questions, Bartholomew then seemed to pick up on a key phrase of Francis’ papacy so far, that the church “cannot be self-centered, revolving around itself.”

“What is the benefit of boasting for what we have received unless these translate into life for humanity and our world both today and tomorrow?” asked Bartholomew. The church, he said, “is called to keep its sight fixed not so much on yesterday as on today and tomorrow.

“The church exists not for itself, but for the world and for humanity,” he continued.

“Even as we are preoccupied with our own contentions, the world experiences the fear of survival, the concern for tomorrow,” said the patriarch. “How can humanity survive tomorrow when it is severed today by diverse divisions, conflicts and animosities, frequently even in the name of God?”

“Nowadays many people place their hope on science; others on politics; still others in technology,” he continued. “Yet none of these can guarantee the future, unless humanity espouses the message of reconciliation, love and justice; the mission of embracing the other, the stranger, and even the enemy.”

“This is precisely why the path toward unity is more urgent than ever for those who invoke the name of the great Peacemaker,” said Bartholomew. “This is precisely why our responsibility as Christians is so great before God, humankind and history.”

Francis took a similar theme, saying that in today’s world “voices are being raised which we cannot ignore and which implore our churches to live deeply our identity as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

The pontiff mentioned particularly the voices of:

  • The poor, “who suffer from severe malnutrition, growing unemployment, the rising numbers of unemployed youth, and from increasing social exclusion.””As Christians we are called together to eliminate that globalization of indifference which today seems to reign supreme, while building a new civilization of love and solidarity,” he said.
  • Victims of conflicts, saying: “We hear this resoundingly here, because some neighboring countries are scarred by an inhumane and brutal war.””The cry of the victims of conflict urges us to move with haste along the path of reconciliation and communion between Catholics and Orthodox,” said the pope. Citing Paul VI’s encyclical Evangelii Nuntiandi, he asked: “Indeed, how can we credibly proclaim the message of peace which comes from Christ, if there continues to be rivalry and disagreement between us?”
  • Young people, many of whom “seek happiness solely in possessing material things and in satisfying their fleeting emotions.””New generations will never be able to acquire true wisdom and keep hope alive unless we are able to esteem and transmit the true humanism which comes from the Gospel and from the church’s age-old experience,” said Francis. “It is precisely the young who today implore us to make progress towards full communion.”

Bartholomew also took a personal tone with Francis, saying his brief papacy had “already manifested you in peoples’ conscience today as a herald of love, peace and reconciliation.”

“You preach with words, but above and beyond all with the simplicity, humility and love toward everyone that you exercise your high ministry,” Bartholomew told Francis. “You inspire trust in those who doubt, hope in those who despair, anticipation in those who expect a church that nurtures all people.”

Mentioning that the Orthodox are preparing for a Great Council of their bishops in 2016, Bartholomew also expressed hope that once the Orthodox and Catholics reunified they could host a Great Ecumenical Council together.

“Let us pray that, once full communion is restored, this significant and special day will also not be prolonged,” he said.

In their joint declaration together, the patriarch and pope also expressed “common concern” for “Iraq, Syria, and the whole Middle East.” While not mentioning specifically any particular group such as the Islamic State, the two lamented the estimated hundreds of thousands who have been forced to flee violence in the region.

“Many of our brothers and sisters are being persecuted and have been forced violently from their homes,” said the two leaders.

“It even seems that the value of human life has been lost, that the human person no longer matters and may be sacrificed to other interests,” they continued. “And, tragically, all this is met by the indifference of many.”

Because of the violence against Christians, they said, “there is also an ecumenism of suffering.”

“Just as the blood of the martyrs was a seed of strength and fertility for the church, so too the sharing of daily sufferings can become an effective instrument of unity,” they continued.

Bartholomew and Francis also called for renewed efforts at Christian-Muslim dialogue, saying “we also recognize the importance of promoting a constructive dialogue with Islam based on mutual respect and friendship.”

“Muslims and Christians are called to work together for the sake of justice, peace and respect for the dignity and rights of every person, especially in those regions where they once lived for centuries in peaceful coexistence and now tragically suffer together the horrors of war,” they said.

The two leaders also mentioned continued turmoil in Ukraine, where some 30 percent of the population is estimated to be Orthodox, calling on “all parties involved to pursue the path of dialogue and of respect for international law.”

Francis was to depart Istanbul for the Vatican Sunday afternoon, after meeting with a group of Syrian refugees living in Turkey after fleeing violence in their home country.

During his three-day trip to Turkey, in which Francis visited the capital of Ankara on Friday before heading to Istanbul Saturday, the pontiff also met with Turkish leaders, toured a mosque and the historic Hagia Sophia, and said Mass for Istanbul’s small Catholic community.

The pontiff’s visit to the continent-straddling nation was keenly watched both for its significance to ecumenical relations and to western outreach to the Middle East, where many have been the victim of violence from the Islamic State group.

Speaking to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Friday, Francis said military solutions cannot stop violence in the Middle East and instead called for a “solidarity of all believers” to counter religious fundamentalism.

To Istanbul’s small Catholic community Saturday, the pontiff called on the church to leave its “comfort zone” and to “throw off defensiveness” to overcome misunderstanding and division.

Posted: November 30, 2014 • Permanent URL: a comment
Categories: NewsTags: Bartholomew I of Constantinople, Catholic, dialogue, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Francis, Orthodox, pope
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Joint Declaration of Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
November 30, 201430 novembre 2014Add a commentÉcrire un commentaire

Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople greet a small crowd after delivering a blessing in Istanbul Nov. 30. Photo: CNS/Paul HaringWe, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, express our profound gratitude to God for the gift of this new encounter enabling us, in the presence of the members of the Holy Synod, the clergy and the faithful of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, to celebrate together the feast of Saint Andrew, the first-called and brother of the Apostle Peter. Our remembrance of the Apostles, who proclaimed the good news of the Gospel to the world through their preaching and their witness of martyrdom, strengthens in us the aspiration to continue to walk together in order to overcome, in love and in truth, the obstacles that divide us. … Read more » … À suivre »

Catholics and Muslims, working together to serve others
November 13, 201413 novembre 2014Add a commentÉcrire un commentaire

The third seminar of the Catholic-Muslim Forum was held in Rome from 11 to 13 November, on the theme “Working Together to Serve Others”. Three specific issues were considered: working together to serve young people, enhancing interreligious dialogue, and service to society.

The Catholic delegation was headed by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan, co-ordinator of the Muslim side, was unable to attend the event for health reasons. The assembled participants sent him a message expressing their good wishes. The Muslim delegation was therefore headed by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, professor of Islamic Studies at the George Washington University, Washington D.C., U.S.A. … Read more » … À suivre »

Dr Alyson Barnett-Cowan to act as interim Secretary General of the Anglican Communion
October 28, 201428 octobre 2014Add a commentÉcrire un commentaire

Alyson Barnett-Cowan said she is 'happy to fill in to bridge the gap while the search process is going on'. Photo: LWF/Maximilian HaasThe Rt Revd James Tengatenga and Mrs Elizabeth Paver, Chair and Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee, Anglican Communion, have appointed the Revd Canon Dr Alyson Barnett-Cowan as Interim Secretary General. Canon Barnett-Cowan, who will retire at the end of January as Director for Unity Faith and Order, has agreed to be a half-time consultant for the position until the position of Secretary General has been filled. She will be based at her home in Canada but will work at the Anglican Communion Office for some days each month. Canon Kenneth Kearon, the present Secretary General, will leave the post at the end of December as he has been elected Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe in the Church of Ireland. His consecration date is January 24. … Read more » … À suivre »

History made, as Anglicans, Oriental Orthodox agree on Christ’s incarnation
October 27, 201427 octobre 2014Add a commentÉcrire un commentaire

The Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission meeting at St Mark's Center, Cairo, Egypt from 13-17 October, 2014Senior theologians in Anglican Communion and Oriental Orthodox Churches recently made history by signing an agreement on their mutual understanding of Christ’s incarnation. This was not just a minor point of theology, rather it was a subject that divided the Church following the Council of Chalcedon* in 451 AD, leaving the Oriental Orthodox Churches separated from the Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Church of Rome. The work to reconcile these branches of the Christian family on the question of how the two natures, human and divine, were united in one human being: Jesus Christ began in earnest in the 1990s. … Read more » … À suivre »

Anglican, Lutheran delegates say synod’s concerns are theirs, too
October 16, 201416 octobre 2014Add a commentÉcrire un commentaire

Upholding the Christian ideal of marriage and family life while also reaching out to those whose lives do not reflect that ideal is a pastoral challenge faced by all Christian communities, said the Anglican representative to the Synod of Bishops.

Anglican Bishop Paul Butler of Durham, England, and “fraternal delegates” from seven other Christian communities addressed the synod Oct. 10. Bishop Butler also spoke to Vatican Radio Oct. 15 as synod members worked in small groups to amend the assembly’s midterm report.

He told members of the synod that he and his wife have been married 32 years and have four grown children. Although Anglicans have married bishops and clergy, “like you,” he told them, Anglicans “are wrestling with how best to respond” to the challenges facing family life around the world.

“As part of this response,” he said, “we want to speak more of the promise of and hope from the family than focus on the threats,” while also making it clear that “marriage is between a man and a woman and is intended to be for life.” … Read more » … À suivre »

Catholics and Anglicans celebrate new Canadian saints together
October 14, 201414 octobre 2014Add a commentÉcrire un commentaire

Pope Francis greets Cardinal Gérald Lacroix of Quebec at the conclusion of an Oct. 12 Mass of thanksgiving for the April canonization of two 17th-century Canadian saints. Photo: CNS/Paul HaringOn the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday, Pope Francis celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for two new Canadian saints: St. François de Laval and St. Marie de l’Incarnation. The two were made saints in April when Pope Francis set aside the normal process. The two were significant in spreading Catholicism in New France, both among the French settlers and the indigenous peoples. Laval (1623-1708) was the first bishop of Québec. Marie de l’Incarnation (1599-1672), an Ursuline sister, was responsible for establishing the first schools in the fledgling colony at Québec and for extending education to girls and natives. Pope Francis has described the new saints as models of spreading the faith. “Missionaries have gone out to call everyone, in the highways and byways of the world,” Francis said in his homily. “In this way they have done immense good for the Church, for once the Church stops moving, once she becomes closed in on herself, she falls ill, she can be corrupted, whether by sins or by that false knowledge cut off from God which is worldly secularism.” … Read more » … À suivre »