|Midwest Prayer for Christian Unity - 2011|
|Escrito por Alice and Wally Sopala|
|Viernes 11 de Febrero de 2011|
There are no translations available.
Chicago - January 22
Those who came described the Focolare’s 2011 evening of Prayer for Christian Unity as very, very joyful. As they have done annually for over twenty years, Catholics, Mennonites, Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Greek Orthodox, members of the United Church of Christ and other denominations joined one another in a warm, almost exuberant atmosphere for a meal, fellowship, and prayer.
After a pot-luck dinner at the Focolare Center, the 180 participants gathered in the prayer hall of K.A.M. Isaiah Israel synagogue, a reminder of their common Old Testament roots.
The evening began with music by the choir of Saint Ambrose Catholic Church, which sang with deep emotion and moving expression, created an atmosphere that placed everyone before God.
Then a greeting from Sr. Joan McGuire, OP, who heads the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Department of Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue.
After opening prayers and scriptural readings suggested by the theme, Rev. Dr. Stanley L. Davis, Jr., of the United Church of Christ, offered his remarks. As Co-Executive Director of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago, he is responsible for ecumenical activities and efforts throughout the metropolitan area. He noted the strides that have been taken since he was a young seminarian in the 1950s, but also stressed his hope for further progress.
Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, spoke of his many encounters with the Focolare Movement in the United States and throughout the world. He emphasized the need for openness and honesty in order to continue building bonds within the Movement, and among the churches.
The service continued with prayers of thanks and intercessions for the Church throughout the world, and with enthusiastic personal witnesses that showed how to reach out to others in love and build relationships that overcome religious differences.
The program concluded with a commentary written in 1994 by Chiara Lubich on Acts 2:42. Her words, illustrated with photos and music, offered a moment of deep reflection.
Columbus, Ohio – Afternoon of January 21.
This afternoon of Prayer for Christian Unity was held at St Peter’s Church, near the Focolare Center in Columbus. In 2006 , Fr. Justin Reis, the pastor, attended the first Prayer for Christian Unity in Columbus, held at the Focolare center itself. He was so moved that he offered to host the program in the parish, where it has been held ever since.
Each year, unity among all the groups of the parish has grown as a result. In 2011, the 100 attendees included Charismatics, representatives of Hispanic organizations, the men’s group, and the RCIA. With help from the Focolare community, they have grown together. In addition, there were participants from other churches, including Baptists, Reformed, Presbyterians, Lutherans and Methodists. The evening included simultaneous Spanish translation.
The program featured the experience of the Baptist Smokey Row Brethren Church, which hosts a food pantry and provides meals to families in need. A collection was taken up for their work.
The Diocese of Columbus has become aware of the growing number and variety of participants in the Focolare’s annual afternoon of Prayer for Christian Unity. With the help of a Focolare member who is on the diocesan ecumenical and interreligious committee, for 2011 a Prayer for Christian Unity was held—the first in many years— at the cathedral, hosted by Bishop Frederick F. Campbell.