July 11, 2016

CALGARY - The Disciples of Christ-Roman Catholic International Commission for Dialogue took place in Calgary June 17 to 22.

The general theme for the present phase of dialogue is Christians Formed and Transformed by the Eucharist. The Calgary sessions took place at the Faithful Companions of Jesus' Christian Life Centre.

After an introductory meeting in Nashville, Tenn., in 2014, the commission approached the topics related to what it means to be formed by the Eucharist, including the structures of liturgies of the two churches and the significance of catechesis on the Eucharist.

The 2016 session discussed The Eucharist and Relationships within the Church. The overall goal of the dialogue, which began in 1977, is the full visible unity between the two communions.

The Disciples co-chair of the dialogue is the Rev. Dr. Newell Williams, president of Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University, in Fort Worth, Texas. The Catholic co-chair is the Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, Wisc.


Papers were prepared by the Rev. Dr. Thomas Best, "Disciples of Christ: Citizens of Heaven, Transformed by the Eucharist" and, for Catholics, Msgr. Michael Clay on "Transformed by the Eucharist: The Eucharist and Relationship within the Church."

A biblical paper entitled "Isaiah 56.1-8: A Community Transformed?" was read by the Rev. Dr. Merryl Blair (Disciples).

The commission will hold its next meeting in Puerto Rico in 2017.

Each day of the dialogue began and concluded with prayer together.

The Calgary meeting gave the commission the opportunity to make local contacts.

Julien Hammond and Deacon Adrian Martens, ecumenical officers of the Edmonton Archdiocese and the Calgary Diocese, co-hosted a meeting with the parishioners of St. Mary's Cathedral after Sunday Mass.

Likewise, on June 21, after celebrating the Lord's Supper by the Disciples, members of the Campbell-Stone United Church heard information about the dialogue and were able to interact with the members of the dialogue.

Calgary Bishop Frederick Henry greeted the commission at a meeting which included staff of St. Mary's University and Alberta Bible College.

In reflecting on the dialogue team's meeting, Ricken said, "I am learning a great deal about dialogue, most of all that real dialogue involves a deep listening to the other.

"It is in the deeper listening and in asking questions which are respectful and revelatory that real progress can be made in ecumenical conversation and in shared action."


At the end of the meeting, Williams, the Disciples' co-chair, said, the dialogue "has led to a deeper understanding of each other's traditions and a fuller appreciation of the place of the Eucharist in both of our churches.

"From this session our hope for the renewal and greater unity of the one Church is increased."

The dialogue commission includes seven representatives of the Disciples of Christ and seven Roman Catholics, including Julien Hammond, ecumenical officer of the Edmonton Archdiocese.