Ecumenism & Interfaith
Ecumenism and Interfaith
“Surely the fostering of unity is a noble task which is incumbent upon all who have at heart the good of the whole human family. It is my hope that interreligious and ecumenical cooperation will demonstrate that men and women do not have to forsake their identity, whether ethnic or religious, in order to live in harmony with their brothers and sisters.”
Pope Francis - Address to Ecumenical and Inter-religious Gathering in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 2015
Auckland Diocesan Commission for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relationships- ADCEIR
The Commission is mandated by the Bishop of Auckland to assist him, the members of the clergy and the people of the Auckland Diocese to “ensure that ecumenism and interreligious relations are organic elements of the life and mission of the diocese in all that the Church is and does” ADCEIR Mandate: July 2015.
The Commission is an integral part of the vision of the Auckland diocese to promote unity amongst the Christian family and build relationships with people of other religions. As Auckland continues to grow in its ethnic and religious diversity, ecumenical and interfaith movements become crucial in ensuring that all people, regardless of their creed, are respected and could freely exercise their faith. The Catholic Church in Auckland collaborates with other Christian communities and religious organisations to foster unity in diversity among all people who call Aotearoa New Zealand home.
In order to carry out its mandate, the Commission:
- Implements the decisions of the Bishop and the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference concerning ecumenism and interfaith relations.
- Maintains relations and regular liaison with the NZCBC's Committees for Ecumenism and interfaith relations, adapting recommendations to local conditions as required.
- Promotes and participates where appropriate, in local conversations and dialogues between the Catholic Church and other Christian traditions.
- Initiates, at least once a year, an opportunity for ecumenical prayer
- Co-operates with other Christian traditions in ecumenical activity.
- Promotes joint witness to the Christian faith by cooperation with other churches in education and social issues.
- Takes initiatives with people from other religious traditions to promote mutual understanding, respect, enrichment and cooperation for the greater good of all.
- Works with appropriate bodies to prepare guidelines and policies on issues within the Commission's mandate.
- Represents the Diocese when appropriate on ecumenical and interreligious bodies.
The Commission is appointed by and directly accountable to the Bishop of the Diocese. Broadly based, it consists of no fewer than eight members, which should include:
- A priest from the Council of Priests, or a member thereof.
- A person nominated from the Diocesan Pastoral Council.
- A member of the Pastoral Services Group.
- General members appointed byte Bishop reflecting possible equality on members as men or women, predominantly lay, reflecting the cultural and ethnic diversity of the diocese.
- A resident member of the NZCBC Committee for Ecumenism, or the National Committee for Interfaith Relations.
The Commission meets four or five times a year, and its members have wide range of knowledge and experience in the Catholic Church’s understanding in promoting unity among Christians and building bridges with other faith traditions. Currently the members are:
Bruce Harrison (Chair)
Deborah Wood (Secretary)
Rev. Fr. Bernard Teo CSsR (Council of Priests representative)
Beate Matthies (Catholic Representative on the Auckland Interfaith Council)
Sr. Sian Owen RSJ (Member of the Catholic-Methodist Dialogue, NZCBC Committee on Ecumenism)
Louisa Rani (Pastoral Services Group)
The work of Interfaith relationships and Ecumenism is not limited to the Diocesan Commission it is the task of all the baptised and a responsibility of all faith communities. Some ideas to begin considering and thinking about. Some are more ecumenical centred.
- Newsletter notices and after-Mass "pulpit announcements" to increase ecumenical/interfaith awareness of gathered and establish
ecumenical and interfaith relationships as a priority of the community's administration.
- Active promotion of ecumenical and interfaith events and topics in the parish, such as WPCU, diocesan events, community events, etc.
- Joint prayer services, activities during WPCU, Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Advent ...others as local circumstances suggest.
- Read about the Advent Ecumenical Prayer Service held in Papakura
- Form an ecumenical and interreligious committee that reports to the Pastoral Council
- Obtain, disseminate and arrange formation around the four main Vatican documents on ecumenism/interreligious relations.
- Organise visits to local Churches/places of worship, invite other denominational and faith communities to 'your place'. Share the stories, explain the features, share hospitality.
- Communicate progress in ecumenical/interfaith work to the diocese
The Commission works with various groups around Auckland and wider to promote and grow ecumenical and interfaith endeavours.
In a cooperation between members of Te Kupenga Catholic Theological College, the Holy Trinity Cathedral, ADCEIR and the initiative Titipounamu Study and Joy, the participants were able to enjoy biblical, theological, artistic and musical input around the theme Unity Across Denominations.
NZCBC Committee for Interfaith Relations
22-30 Hill St
PO Box 1937
Email: [email protected]
Mr Colin Macleod (Chair)
NZCBC Committee for Ecumenism
Cathedral House PO Box 4544
Chch Mail Centre Christchurch 8140
Cardinal John A Dew DD (Chair)
A number of resources are available to assist in the promotion of Interfaith and Ecumenical relationship
"Promoting Interfaith Relations" from the NZCBC, click here to read and download this booklet.
Nostra Aetate: The Leaven of Good - Part III. A Video from The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialog
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
The traditional date for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is 18-25 January (and is the date in the northern hemisphere). Those dates were proposed in 1908 by Paul Wattson to cover the days between the feast of St Peter and the feast of St Paul, and therefore have symbolic meaning.
In the southern hemisphere such as here in New Zealand where January is a vacation time, churches find the week leading up to Pentecost is more timely. It too is symbolic for the unity of the church. For 2021, the date for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is 23-30 May.
The following resources will assist communities in planning local worship during the this important week.
The material for The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (WPCU) in 2021 was prepared by the Monastic community of Grandchamp. This guide, the accompanying participants’ service sheet and the 8-days of prayer booklet were produced by the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference Ecumenical committee to incorporate the Southern Hemisphere timing of the WPCU and to enculturate for the New Zealand context.
The Facilitator's Guide can be downloaded here.
This prayer sheet provides a reflection on the readings for each of the eight days in light of the week of prayer for Christian Unity. It can be used by individuals, at community meetings, as prayer after communion... whatever best suits the circumstances