Earlier in the year, a couple fellow classmates and I quipped that ecumenical progress in Rome meant that after centuries of bitter division, competitiveness and even occasional “sheep-stealing”, now the students from the Dominican-run Angelicum are allowed to attend lectures at the Jesuit-staffed Gregorian University, (which is located a short five-minute walk from the Angelicum).
The reality is a little more encouraging, however. The packed schedule of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is just one example that ecumenism, which lay at the heart of the Church’s mission, is really present in the City at the heart of the Catholic Church.
It even goes beyond that, in fact. 17 January, the day before the Week of Prayer begins is devoted, in Italy and other European nations, to a day of Dialogue between Christians and Jews. A celebration in Assisi on that date every year is one of the oldest and best known, and regularly includes Angelicum professor Rabbi Jack Bemporad on the agenda.
It is true that it is difficult, though not impossible, to find non-Catholics in the theology and philosophy departments of the Pontifical Universities. Honestly, it is still hard to find non-clerics or religious in some! But, for all that, the capital of the Church has a lot going on during this 2011 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
(Being as it is Rome, however, nobody coordinates these events into a single calendar. I had to put together five different sources to get these. Most of which arrived after the week had started!):
Sunday, 16 January
+ 18.30 In anticipation of the Week of Prayer, Ecumenical Evensong at the Anglican Church of All Saints, organized by Churches Together in Rome.
Monday, 17 January
+ 20.00 Lecture, “The Path Ahead for the Ecumenical Movement in the 21st Century” with Rev. Andrea Joos at Santa Maria del Silenzio. Sponsored by the Daughters of the Church.
Tuesday, 18 January:
+ 12.45 Eucharist celebrated at the Anglican Centre in Rome (Palazzo Doria Pamphilj)
+ 15.30 Lecture, “Orthodox Ecclesiology and Postmodernity with Grand Archdeacon Maximos of the Ecumenical Patriarchate at the Pontifical Gregorian University
+ 19.00 Worship service at the Italian Methodist Church, sponsored by the Consultation of Evangelical Churches of Rome (Via XX Settembre)
+ 20.00 Divine Liturgy in the Byzantine Rite (Ukranian Catholic Church) at Santa Maria in Via Lata (Via del Corso 306)
+ 20.00 Lecture, “The Fifth Commandment: Honor Your Father and Mother” with Rabbi Jack Bemporad at Santa Maria del Silenzio.
Wednesday, 19 January
+ 10.30 General Audience with Pope Benedict XVI “Prayer is the center of the journey to unity”
+ 20.00 Divine Liturgy in the Armenian Rite (Armenian Catholic Church) at Sta Maria in Via Lata
Thursday, 20 January
+ 16.30 Lecture, “Renewed Mission of the World Council of Churches in the Search for Christian Unity” with Rev. Dr. Olav Fyske Tveit, General Secretary of the WCC. Followed by an Ecumenical Celebration of the Word, presided over by Rev. Trevor Hoggard, Methodist Representative to the Holy See and pastor of Ponte Sant’Angelo Methodist Church, and preaching by Very Rev. Mark Francis, CSV, of the Pontifical Liturgical Institute and the Caravita community. Sponsored by the Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas, the Centro Pro Unione, and the Vincent Pallotti Institute.
+ 19.00 Ecumenical Vigil at the parish Gesù Divino Maestro, sponsored by the Diocese of Rome.
+ 20.00 Divine Liturgy in the Byzantine Rite (Romanian Catholic Church) at Sta Maria in Via Lata
Friday, 21 January
+ 20.00 Divine Liturgy in the Antiochene/West Syrian Rite (Maronite Catholic Church) at Sta Maria in Via Lata
Saturday, 22 January
+ 20.00 Divine Liturgy in the Chaldean/East Syrian Rite (Syro-Malabar Catholic Church) at Sta Maria in Via Lata
Sunday, 23 January – Christian Unity Sunday
+ 11.00 Eucharist at the Caravita Community with ecumenical guest preacher, Rev. Dr. Roger Ferlo, Director of the Institute for Christian Formation and Leadership at Virginia Theological Seminary.
+ 17.00 Ecumenical Evensong at the Episcopal Church of St. Paul “Within the Walls”. Bishop Richard Garrard, presiding. Followed by a presentation of Thomas Tallis’ anthem “Spem in Alium” rendered by four choirs from an ecumenical gathering of churches in Rome
+ 18.00 Ecumenical prayer and “fraternal encounter” at the Waldensian Church on Piazza Cavour, sponsored by the Segretariato Attività Ecumeniche – an Italian ecumenical lay movement.
+ 20.00 Divine Liturgy in the Roman Rite (Roman Catholic Church) at Sta. Maria in Via Lata. Most Rev. Ernesto Mandara, Auxiliary Bishop of Rome for the Central Sector, presiding.
Monday, 24 January
+ 20.00 Divine Liturgy in the Byzantine Rite (Greek Catholic Church) at Santa Maria in Via Lata
Tuesday, 25 January
+ 12.45 Eucharist celebrated at the Anglican Centre (Palazzo Doria Pamphili). Reception following.
+ 17.30 Solemn Vespers concluding the Week of Prayer for Chrisitan Unity at the Basilica of Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls. His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will preside and preach.
+ 20.00 Divine Liturgy in the Alexandrian Rite (Ethiopian Catholic Church) at Santa Maria in Via Lata