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 — August 16, 201316 aoüt 2013
 
Brother Jeffrey Gros, csc
Brother Jeffrey Gros, csc

Brother Jeffrey Gros, 75, former director of Faith & Order for the National Council of Churches in the USA, died in Chicago August 12.

“Jeff Gros was passionately devoted to his church and to the quest for church unity,” said Dr. Antonios Kireopoulos, NCC associate general secretary, Faith & Order and Interfaith Relations, who served as a Faith & Order intern from 1989 to 1990 during Gros’ tenure at the Council.

“He was a model for the Council’s commitment to ecumenical cooperation and a mentor both to his contemporaries and to future generations of ecumenists, including me,” Kireopoulos said Tuesday.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit has expressed condolences following the death of Brother Jeffrey Gros, recalling his significant contributions to Christian unity and ecumenical dialogue as a Catholic theologian.

“It is with deep sadness that we have received the news of Brother Jeffrey Gros’s passing away. We remember his profound contributions to Christian unity and his support of the WCC’s Commission on Faith and Order,” said the WCC general secretary.

“We thank God for the life and work of Brother Jeffrey Gros,” Tveit added.

A De La Salle Christian Brother for 58 years, Brother Jeffrey Gros was born John Jefferson in Memphis, Tenn., the son of Jeff and Faye (Dickinson) Gros.

He graduated from Price College in Amarillo, Tex., entered the novitiate of the Brothers in Glencoe, Mo., in 1955, and professed his final vows in 1963.

He received a B.A. and a M. Ed. from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. Brother Jeffrey earned an MA in Theology from Marquette University and a Ph.D. in Theology from Fordham University.

During his years as an educator, he taught in Evanston and Romeoville, IL, Glencoe and St. Louis, Mo., and Memphis, Tenn.

Gros, well known in the ecumenical movement for broadening its scope, published widely in theological journals and periodicals, edited numerous books on ecumenism, and spoke to various religious and educational groups throughout the world.

Gros served as one of the co-editors of the WCC publications series entitled Growth in Agreement, which collects and presents reports and agreed statements of international ecumenical bilateral dialogues among churches. For volume 2, Gros worked with Harding Meyer and William G. Rusch, covering the period 1982-1998. For volume 3, he worked with Thomas F. Best and Lorelei F. Fuchs, S.A. to gather documents from the period 1998-2005. Gros teamed with the same group on volume 4 which is currently under production.

He served ten years as Director of Faith and Order for the National Council of Churches and also for fourteen years as Associate Director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

More recently, he was the Distinguished Professor of Ecumenical and Historical Theology at Memphis Theological Seminary.

In the fall of 2011 he returned to Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill., as the Catholic Studies Scholar in Residence.

He was president of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, consultant to the Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the Archdiocese of Chicago, adjunct professor at Catholic Theological Union, and Dean of the Institute for Catholic Ecumenical Leadership.

Survivors include his sister, Sister Joye Gros, OP, of St. Louis, and the De La Salle Christian Brothers.

Visitation will be on Saturday, August 17, 2013 from 9:00 am to 11:00 am at Sancta Alberta Chapel on the campus of Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill., followed immediately by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 am. Interment will be at Resurrection Cemetery in Romeoville on Monday, August 19, at 9:30 am.

Memorials may be made to the De La Salle Christian Brothers Retirement Fund, 7650 S. County Line Rd., Burr Ridge, IL 60527.


Catholic News Service on the life and work of Bro. Jeffrey Gros
by Carol Zimmermann

Christian Brother Jeffrey Gros, a leader in the ecumenical movement and former official with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, died Aug. 12 at age 75. For more than a year, he struggled with pancreatic cancer.

For decades, Brother Gros participated in an untold number of dialogues with religious groups, delivered keynote addresses around the world, edited numerous books and wrote hundreds of book reviews. He has been remembered by colleagues for his zealous work in broadening the scope of ecumenism.

An online posting described him as “a public thinker” in theology, ecumenism and catechesis.

The funeral Mass for Brother Gros was scheduled for Aug. 17 at Sancta Alberta Chapel on the campus of Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill., followed by interment at Resurrection Cemetery in Romeoville Aug. 19.

“He was one of the most generous people I knew,” said Father John Crossin, an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales, who is executive director of the USCCB’s Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.

“Even when he was retired he’d be generous with his time and energy,” the priest said late Aug. 12 upon learning of Brother Gros’ death. “He was also very encouraging especially to people who wanted to get into the field, recommending things to read or study. Jeff was one of the most knowledgeable people in the field of ecumenism.”

Paulist Father Ron Roberson, the secretariat’s associate director, the post held for 14 years by Brother Gros, described the death of his colleague as “a huge loss to the ecumenical movement.”

Brother Gros, a native of Memphis, Tenn., who also was an avid cyclist, had been a resident scholar in Catholic studies at Lewis University since 2011. The post was a return to the university for him, as he had chaired the school’s theology department in 1967. Lewis is sponsored by his religious order, De La Salle Christian Brothers.

While he was resident scholar, he also was president of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, consultant to the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, and an adjunct professor at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.

Paulist Father Thomas F. Stransky, who assisted in drafting the Second Vatican Council documents on ecumenism, praised Brother Gros for his “immense curiosity” about ecumenism, noting that he did not just focus on a narrow specialty.

He said his colleague was “very zealous” and was known to read about three books a week and review them for various journals and publications including Catholic News Service. His most recent CNS review, published July 12, was on the book “‘Til Faith Do Us Part: How Interfaith Marriage Is Transforming America” by Naomi Schaefer Riley.

Father Stransky and Father Roberson, both in Lake George, N.Y., for a working retreat, spoke to CNS by phone about Brother Gros Aug. 13.

Father Roberson said Brother Gros had “an encyclopedic knowledge of ecumenism” and wanted to be sure the work in this field was taught in Catholic schools. When he wasn’t focusing on dialogue with Oriental Orthodox or Protestant groups, he was likely biking, not only locally but in Denmark or Chile.

Father Stransky said Brother Gros always approached ecumenical efforts by getting to know the people “and what makes them tick.”

The priest, former president of the Paulist Fathers, has been a consultant on mission concerns to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, a member of the joint working group of the Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches, and a member of the Catholic-Southern Baptist dialogue.

He praised Brother Gros for being ahead of his time in his efforts to speak with evangelicals about concerns of proselytizing in Latin America and for his strong desire to include Pentecostals, not just mainline churches, in ecumenical efforts.

The priest noted that Brother Gros also was very concerned that today’s young people know the roots of the ecumenical movement and be active in keeping these efforts going.

Antonio Kireopoulos, associate general secretary of Faith and Order and Interfaith Relations for the National Council of Churches, said Brother Gros “was a model for the council’s commitment to ecumenical cooperation and a mentor both to his contemporaries and to future generations of ecumenists, including me.”

In an Aug. 12 statement, he said Brother Gros was “passionately devoted to his church and to the quest for church unity.”

Father Stransky said the last work Brother Gros was working on was a book about Chicago Cardinal Joseph Bernardin’s ecumenical work, particularly with Jews in Chicago.

“I don’t think he finished it. His health really declined; his mind was there but his body wasn’t,” Father Stransky said.

Brother Gros, a De La Salle Christian Brother for 58 years, was born John Jefferson Gros in Memphis, the son of Jeff and Faye (Dickinson) Gros.

He entered the novitiate of the Christian Brothers in 1955 and professed his final vows in 1963. He received a bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, a master’s degree in theology from Marquette University in Milwaukee, and a doctorate in theology from Fordham University in New York.

For 10 years, he was director of Faith and Order for the National Council of Churches. He was also the distinguished professor of ecumenical and historical theology at Memphis Theological Seminary.

In addition to other roles he had, he was dean of the Institute for Catholic Ecumenical Leadership, a program for diocesan ecumenical leaders.

He is survived by his sister, Dominican Sister Joye Gros of St. Louis.

Posted: August 16, 2013 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=6772
Categories: Memorials, NewsIn this article: Catholic, ecumenism
Transmis : 16 aoüt 2013 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=6772
Catégorie : Memorials, NewsDans cet article : Catholic, ecumenism


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