Students complete MSMC Ecumenical-Interreligious course

Father Alexei Smith gathers May 31 with those who completed the certification course in Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations through Mount St. Mary’s College’s Ecclesia program.

The first ten people to complete a certification course in Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations through Mount St. Mary’s College’s Ecclesia program were celebrated in a May 31 commencement ceremony.

In the “professional preparation in ministry” course — led by Father Alexei Smith, director of the archdiocesan Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs — Ecclesia Program students met once a month (beginning last September) for seven hours, prepared for discussion on a wide range of topics. They included inter-denominational marriage, ecumenical dialogue, inter-faith encounter and discussion, the history of the Reformation and Christian progress since then, reflected in teachings from Church leaders and 20th century Vatican documents such as Ut Unum Sint and Nostra Aetate.

“I hope what we have been able to instill in you is what Pope Francis often refers to as a ‘Culture of Encounter,’” Father Smith told those receiving their certification. He urged program graduates and their guests gathered for the commencement ceremony to follow Pope Francis’ example by facilitating this encounter.

He also highlighted significant moments from the Holy Father’s recent visit to the Holy Land.

“We are living in historic times,” Father Smith said enthusiastically. “In the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Pope Francis and Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew prayed together. We may not think that is big, but in that part of the world, this is the first time that Christians of different traditions prayed together — on the very site that Christ died and rose from the dead — since the tragic split of the Church in 1054 between East and West.”

Dr. Ann McElaney-Johnson, MSMC president, recalled the original hopes of Pope John XXIII for the reconciliation of Christians when he announced an ecumenical council of the Universal Church — an address delivered to 17 Cardinals in the Basilica of St. Paul-Outside-the-Walls on Jan. 25, 1959.

“John called upon all of the saints that day,” McElaney-Johnson said, “for ‘a good beginning, continuation and happy outcome of these proposals for a great work, enlightenment, edification, and happiness of all Christian people for a renewed invitation to the faithful of the separated communities that they also may follow us amiably in this search for unity and grace to which so many souls aspire in all parts of the Earth.’”

Ecclesia program organizer Gail Gresser, director of Campus Ministry at Mount St. Mary’s, announced plans to continue the course annually, and hoped to introduce a second level of preparation sometime in the next two years. 

Certificate recipients in alphabetical order: Jennifer Wing Atencio, Christine Blair, Ana Maria Cape, Donald DeBenedictis, Laura Gomez, Julie Heath-Elliot, Anastasia Pologar, Jan Sooter, Michael Tupaz and Rafael Vega.


Voices

A bluebird day: Commercial fisherman Captain Geordie King

Heather King

Back in New England, my brother Geordie’s been a commercial fisherman for more than 30 years. He developed his passion for boats as a kid, out fishing and pulling lobster traps with my father.

The Holy Father visits the Holy Land

Events

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October 25, 2014

  • Saturday, October 25

    World Apostolate of Fatima Conference, 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. (noon Mass, Bishop Alexander Salazar presiding), Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W. Temple St., L.A. (310) 890-7912.

    Our Lady of the Angels Region Congress, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., St. Mary’s Academy, Inglewood; $. (310) 216-9587.

    “Sing to the Lord!” formation day for music ministers, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Mary Star of the Sea Church, 463 W. Pleasant Valley Rd., Oxnard; $. (805) 469-6293.

     “Ethical Care at the End of Life,” seminar addressing end-of-life issues, 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Our Lady of the Assumption Church, 3175 Telegraph Ave., Ventura. (805) 642-6403.

    Holiday Boutique, to support Little Sisters of the Poor, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Jeanne Jugan Residence, 2100 S. Western Ave., San Pedro. (310) 548-0625.

    St. Pius-St. Matthias Academy Open House, 10 a.m., 7851 E. Gardendale St., Downey. (562) 861-2271.

    Requiem Mass, for children lost to miscarriage and stillbirth, 10 a.m., St. Therese Church, 510 N. El Molino St., Alhambra. (626) 733-2297.

     “Mission Music,” with De Angelis Vocal Ensemble, 2 p.m., Mission San Juan Capistrano Basilica, 31520 Camino Capistrano,; $. [714] 928-9567.

    St. Philip the Apostle School Fall Festival, 2-10 p.m., 161 S. Hill Ave., Pasadena. (626) 795-9691.

    “Touch & Heal,” Cathedral Chapel  benefit concert, 4:30 p.m. reception, 7 p.m. concert, Bishop Conaty-Our Lady of Loretto HS, 2900 W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles; $. (323) 930-5976.

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