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August 2014 News

Ecumenism is YOUR thing!

  • Written by  Comment: Fr Brian Sparksman
Fr Brian Sparksman sharing at a local Interfaith forum in Toowoomba. Photo: Multi-Faith Multicultural Centre

Fr Brian Sparksman, Catholic Diocese of Toowoomba Episcopal Vicar for Ecumenism and Interfaith Dialogue, share why Ecumenism – the movement of promoting Christian unity – should be everybody’s thing .

My deep interest in Ecumenism and Interfaith Dialogue probably stems from the example of my parents and extended family when I was a child.

It grew noticeably during my working life, my time at the Seminary and then significantly while I was at Catholic University, in Washington.

Some people say to me “Ecumenism is YOUR thing!”

My belief is that Ecumenism should be EVERYBODY’S thing! I believe that this is best expressed in extracts from “That they may be One”, the Encyclical Letter of Pope John Paul II, 25th May 1995.

In it, he writes:

. . . It is absolutely clear that ecumenism, the movement promoting Christian unity, is not some sort of ‘appendix’ which is added to the Church’s traditional activity. Rather, ecumenism is an organic part of her life and work, and consequently must pervade all that she is and does.

The Second Vatican Council for its part exhorts “all Christ’s faithful to remember that the more purely they strive to live according to the Gospel, the more they are fostering and even practising Christian unity”.

We proceed along the road leading to the conversion of hearts guided by love which is directed to God and, at the same time, to all our brothers and sisters, including those not in full communion.

Love gives rise to the desire for unity, even in those who have never been aware of the need for it.

This quote is appropriate in that it contains the teaching of a Pope just freshly declared to be a saint: John Paul II.

I believe this could apply to each and every church.

As we all “proceed along the road” may we all believe and say, with love, “Ecumenism is MY thing!”

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