Catholic-Lutheran commemoration calls for Christian unity Print this post

Staff Report – Florida Catholic

11/10/17

A Joint Catholic-Lutheran Commemoration Prayer Service and Dialogue took place on Oct. 31 at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Venice.

The gathering, jointly led by Bishop Frank J. Dewane and Bishop-elect Pedro Suarez of the Florida-Bahamas Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, was part of ongoing events related to the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation and was a celebration of the commonalities the two religious denominations have.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane is seen at a commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Venice. From left to right is Robert O. Hall, Senior Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Father Jack Costello, Rector of Epiphany Cathedral in Venice, Bishop-elect Pedro Suarez of the Florida-Bahamas Synod, and Russell Meyer of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Tampa.

Bishop Dewane briefly reflected on past differences and animosities that came about during the Reformation 500 years ago. He noted much progress has been made. This has been done through ecumenical dialogue at all levels of the two Churches and the result has been a growth of mutual understanding and the identification of theological agreements.

It was exactly one year ago that a similar prayer service took place in Sweden, led by Pope Francis and Bishop Munib A. Younan, then President of the Lutheran World Federation.

Pope Francis at the time noted that without God we can do nothing. We ask his help, so that we can be living members, abiding in Him, ever in need of His grace, so that together we may bring His word to the world, which so greatly needs His tender love and mercy.ā€¯

Mercy and unity were the major themes of the commemoration which included readings, prayers and music. Bishop Dewane and Bishop-elect Suarez, were joined by Senior Pastor Robert O. Hall of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Venice; Pastor Russell Meyer of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Tampa; and Father Jack Costello, Rector of Epiphany Cathedral in Venice.

Bishop Dewane and Pastor Meyer fielded questions afterwards with both stressing the blessing of the continued similarities between the two denominations rather than on any differences that linger.

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