Edmonton woman wins leadership award

 — Jan. 23, 199323 janv. 1993

by Bob Gilmour, Edmonton Journal

A quiet, dedicated Edmonton woman who works behind the scenes to unify Edmonton churches has won Canada’s 1992 national ecumenical leadership award.

Rosaleen Zdunich, ecumenical officer for the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Edmonton, won the ninth annual national award from the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism.

Rev. Thomas Ryan, director of the Montreal-based centre, said Zdunich won over several other Canadian nominees for demonstrating “exceptional ecumenical leadership and organizational initiative.”

Ryan presented the national leadership award to Zdunich at an Edmonton-wide ecumenical prayer service Tuesday night at All Saints’ (Anglican) Cathedral, in celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which starts tomorrow.

“We wish to recognize her years of generous service and on-going significant initiatives in the service of Christian unity and interfaith understanding,” he told more than 200 worshippers from different Edmonton churches at the prayer service.

“She’s been outstanding. She’s exercised extraordinary leadership to bring Christians together – both clergy and laity,” he said later in a Journal interview.

“I think Edmonton is particularly blessed to have a dedicated animator of ecumenical events working at the grassroots level. Her presence is making a number of things happen in Edmonton that probably wouldn’t happen if she weren’t here.

“Rosaleen has taken a leadership role in promoting ecumenism in the religious education departments of Edmonton Catholic Schools by recommending a unit on ecumenism in the senior high school religion program for Alberta.”

And, while working full-time as a counsellor with Edmonton Catholic Schools, said Ryan, Zdunich also took on the role of chairperson for the Edmonton Archdiocesan Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission at a time when interest in ecumenism seemed to be decling and membership was low.

“It has since become a very active commission and, under Rosaleen’s leadership, has organized numerous ecumenical study days and weekend sessions with Anglican, Lutheran and Catholic laity and clergy,” Ryan said.

“Because of her enthusiasm and passion for the cause of ecumenism and Jewish-Christian relations, Rosaleen has provided a valuable contribution in promoting ecumenical and interfaith awareness, education and dialogue for more than a decade in the archdiocese of Edmonton.”

Ryan said Zdunich’s volunteer work led to the opening last year of an archdiocesan ecumenical office where she can now dedicate herself fully to ecumenical and interfaith work.

“On another front, she is working with the Ukrainian Catholic chancery to set up a model for an ecumenical commission that will strengthen the working relations between Ukrainian Catholics and Roman Catholics, amalgamating both on one commission.”

Upon her initiative, she and ecumenical co-ordinators of several other Christian churches in Edmonton plan and hold a city-wide ecumenical prayer service to open Christian Unity Week each year.

“She doesn’t like to be in the headlines,” Ryan told the Journal. “She’s more of a quiet, steady worker behind the scenes. But the ecumenical movement needs people with organizational abilities as much as it needs theologians and scholars.”

The goal of the ecumenical movement, explained Ryan, “is one faith expressed in one eucharistic fellowship, and lived out in common mission and service so that the world might believe.”

At Tuesday’s award presentation, Zdunich also received a telegram and bouquet of flowers from the Saskatoon Centre for Ecumenism, which congratulated her for “generous, competent and steadfast ministry in ecumenism and interfaith relations during so many years.”

“I really believe this award is a recognition of ecumenism in the archdiocese and the whole of Edmonton and surrounding areas,” Zdunich said after receiving the national award.

“It is a recognition of the support and encouragement that has been given to building Christian unity … and of the support church leaders have provided in ecumenism.”

Posted: Jan. 23, 1993 • Permanent link: ecumenism.net/?p=6056
Categories: NewsIn this article: Ecumenical Leadership Award, Edmonton
Transmis : 23 janv. 1993 • Lien permanente : ecumenism.net/?p=6056
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : Ecumenical Leadership Award, Edmonton

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