Head of Religious Education
Different worlds are being brought together.
The Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry
Ecumenism refers to Christian Churches around the world listening and communicating with each other in order to achieve unity. It began in the nineteenth century among some Protestant Churches, however, it is quite a new movement in the Catholic Church, beginning in earnest with the Second Vatican Council and Pope John XXIII in the 1960s. Christian Churches have recently focused on the beliefs and practices that they hold in common, and a willingness to communicate in these areas means that significant steps are being taken towards unity.
Recently, Pope Francis has made some spectacular ecumenical gestures. In 2014 he celebrated an ecumenical service with Orthodox Churches in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem; in 2015 he became the first Pope to enter a Waldensian Church; and in 2016 he travelled to Lund in Sweden to commemorate the Reformation with the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and celebrated a service with Bishop Munib.
In secular society, the royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was an unbelievable event that took place recently. It was an incredible way for religion and the sacrament of marriage to be broadcast to two billion people worldwide. It connected friends and family by bonding them together to witness the marriage of the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex and celebrate the coming together of two individuals, in faith, hope and love.
Archbishop Angaelos, the first Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London was present at the wedding to give his blessing. He read a beautiful prayer facing the thousands of well-wishers who lined up to see the UK’s newest married couple exchange their vows. What was most important about this blessing was that it was the first time in history a non-Anglican minister was involved in giving a blessing at a royal wedding. This is the physical example of people coming together through respect, that allows them to live and cooperate with each other, regardless of their differences. They put aside their differences and came together for one very important occasion, to celebrate the marriage of two people who publicly shared their love for each other. True love is not about what divides us, but what brings us together. The Most Reverend Michael Curry, Head of the Episcopal Church (the American branch of the Anglican Church), summed it up during the wedding stating:
“Think and imagine a world where love is the way. Imagine neighbourhoods and communities where love is the way…no child will go hungry in this world ever again…when love is the way, poverty will become history. When love is the way, we treat each other like we are actually family.”
Students at Loreto Normanhurst have also engaged with ecumenism over the last few months, listening to guest speakers, including James McDermott from Hornsby Presbyterian Church and Brian Hall from St Peter’s Anglican Church Hornsby. They have been involved in dialogue with these guest speakers about important issues in the world, including roles in the church and the common bonds between Christian variants. However, dialogue is not just something that takes place on an official or academic level, it is part of daily life during which different cultural and religious groups interact with each other directly to increase mutual understanding and build good relations. Students have shown this active dialogue by being involved in the community, dedicating their time to the annual Red Shield Doorknock Appeal. This event organised by the Salvation Army brings hope where it is needed most, by raising money that will assist in providing shelter for the homeless, supporting families in crisis through counselling and caring for those impacted by addiction. A very significant woman in our Loreto history once said, “Go where the need is greatest”, and this is definitely what Loreto girls are doing through supporting initiatives such as these.
Mr Jason Currao
Head of Religious Education