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University to celebrate ecumenism with global Christian leaders

| Monday, March 11, 2019

Notre Dame is planning to host two events to celebrate ecumenism and the relationships between Christians of different traditions, according to a Monday press release.

“Notre Dame’s commitment to ecumenism is an essential dimension of our character as a Catholic university,” Fr. Gerry Olinger, vice president for mission engagement and church affairs, said in the release. “We share in Jesus’ prayer for unity, and we seek to build a culture of encounter which leads to greater understanding, collaboration and love. Notre Dame strongly agrees with Pope Francis when he says that ecumenism is not optional.”

The first event, scheduled for March 26 at 7:30 p.m. in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, is an ecumenical prayer service featuring co-presiders of different Christian faiths and a performance from the Notre Dame Liturgical Choir.

Guests will include Rev. Chris Ferguson, general secretary for the World Communion of Reformed Churches, Rev. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, secretary general for the Anglican Communion, Rev. Martin Junge, general secretary for the Lutheran World Federation, Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and Rev. J.C. Park, president of the World Methodist Council.

The second event is a lecture titled “From Conflict to Communion: The Future of Christians Together in the World” and will take place Thursday, March 28 at 5 p.m. The panel will feature senior leaders from several different Christian denominations and will be moderated by Notre Dame assistant professor of theology Neil Arner.

Both events are free and open to the public.

A private ecumenical meeting will also take place on campus between Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Reformed and Catholic leaders. These five denominations have all identified themselves with the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justice, a document that asserts an understanding on the shared beliefs between different Christian religions. According to the release, the goal of the meeting is to “provide recommendations for how the Christian communities that have adopted the Joint Declaration can demonstrate deeper communion with each other.”

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