Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 30, 2002
Ecumenical director lives what he believes
By RENATO GANDIA
WCR Staff Writer
Julien Hammond, the new director of ecumenical relations for the Edmonton Archdiocese, says, "Ecumenism is a way of life."
"It is a lived reality," he told the WCR in an interview. In fact, ecumenism is alive in Canada with its multicultural and multifaith communities.
"Some of the boundaries saying that (ecumenism) is simply a Church matter or religious matter are not always helpful because we talk about life and we live life and share it," said the Shaunavon, Sask., native.
Hammond, who has been doing graduate work in Catholic-Jewish relations and Jewish studies for roughly five years at the University of St. Michael in Toronto, was once registrar of Newman Theological College.
Being at Newman for some years (as a student and later as registrar), he had the chance to work with clergy and students from various denominations.
He is convinced that the ecumenical flavour of Newman will be helpful for his new mission.
Hammond, a master of divinity graduate, feels a tad intimidated with his new environment, since he has been in the academic world for some time.
After graduating from Newman in 1997, he spent 10 months at Ratisbonne Pontifical Institute, Christian Centre for Jewish Studies in Israel.
And from fall 1998 to spring 2002, he was both registrar and dean of students at Newman.
This is Hammond's first pastoral task. He had some training in pastoral work, but his professional life took him into academic and administrative worlds.
"Hopefully I am able to blend those things into the ecumenical commission now - the pastoral, the administrative and hopefully the academic work that I've been involved in."
Part of his personal preliminary goals as a director is to blend his work with other commissions in the archdiocese.
"I'd like to see the ecumenical commission, as with all the commissions, integrating into a larger diocesan vision that is currently presented by Archbishop Collins.
"That means in whatever way we can, interfacing perhaps with catechetics in their formation of catechists, with the youth ministry, among others, raising awareness on ecumenical matters."
He also believes there is more room for teamwork with other commissions.
"The more we work together, the easier the individual task of the commissions becomes.
"We have a strong commission - committed people, whose hearts and minds are in the right places. That's a great strength."
The immediate challenge, he says, is infrastructure for the commission to communicate with parishes and regions in the archdiocese.
Devising some vehicles by which the commission can communicate better with parishes is high on his preliminary agenda.