Tuesday, 27 May 2003

Berlin (Fides Service) - From 28 May to June 1 the Churches in Germany will hold an “Ecumenical-Day” with the motto: “May you be a Blessing!” This is the first time that lay representatives of the Catholic and Lutheran Churches in Germany organise a joint Church Day together. The five-day event will include round table discussions, debates, conferences and public discussion as well as prayer, mediation, Eucharistic celebration and other church services.
The standing council of the Catholic German Bishops Conference DBK in a statement for the occasion says the event will be an encouraging signal for the faith in Germany which is bound to give new impulse to ecumenical collaboration. “By giving joint witness to the Gospel of Christ and taking a common stance to meet the challenges of our time, all the Christians in our country shoulder responsibility for the world of today”.
Among the important Catholic guests for the occasion: Cardinal Water Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for the promotion of Unity among Christians, Cardinal Karl Lehmann, president of the German Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Georg Sterzinsky, Archbishop of Berlin, Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo apostolic Nuncio to Germany. Representing the Lutheran Church Konrad Kaiser Secretary General of the World Council of Churches, the Rev. Wolfgang Huber Lutheran Bishop of Berlin and a number of other Lutheran Bishops. Also present Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Michel Sabbah, Patriarch Gregorios Laham of the Melkites, Egyptian Copt Patriarch Schenouda, Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga Archbishop of Tegucigalpa (Mexico), and lay leaders: Chiara Lubich founder of the Focolarini movement and Andrea Riccardi of the Rome based S. Egidio Community. Civic personalities to attend the opening ceremony include German President Johannes Rau and Premier Gerhard Schröder.
The national office of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Germany “missio Achen” will take part with various initiatives to highlight missionary activity in its many aspects and also ecumenical collaboration in the missionary field and projects undertaken in different countries. For the occasion, the international Catholic organisation Aid to the Church in Need, which has always focussed its activity on assisting needy Churches in Eastern Europe, has prepared a 47 page information booklet entitled “Rebuilding love – discovering the Orthodox Churches as Sister Churches” to help German Christians know more about Orthodox Christians. Visitors may see the publication in German at (Fides Service 27/5/2003 EM lines 34 Words: 409)