Catholics, Lutherans to close Reformation observance

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - Updated: 11:59 pm

Dr. John Borelli, a special assistant to the president of Georgetown University and a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue for 17 years, will be the keynote speaker at a “Commemoration of Hope” Tuesday, Oct. 28, at the Fred Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe.

The event closes “From Conflict to Communion: Together in Hope,” the Catholic-Lutheran regional observance of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

The Oct. 28 program will include small group break-out sessions on prayer, service and witness, and marriage and family. The day begins with registration at 9 a.m. It concludes with a prayer service in St. Vincent Basilica, where Bishop David Zubik and Bishop Kurt Kusserow of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will serve as presiders.

The observance has been a project of the Roman Catholic dioceses of Pittsburgh and Greensburg, the Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh and the Southwestern Pennsylvania ELCA.

Borelli is special assistant for Catholic identity and dialogue to President John DeGioia of Georgetown University. During his 13 years at the Jesuit institution, Borelli has managed ongoing dialogues and institutes, lecture series and conferences, and taught in the Catholic Studies Program. He served as associate director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for more than 16 years, and was interim director from 2001-02.

He has published more than 200 articles in the past 40 years and edited, co-edited or co-authored five books on ecumenical and interreligious relations.

The four local bishops — Bishop Zubik, Bishop Kusserow, Bishop Edward Malesic of Greensburg and Byzantine Archbishop William Skurla of Pittsburgh — released a letter in January encouraging their people to come together during this year of observance.

Two previous events in the observance year focused on repentance and thanksgiving.

“Christ’s call to be truly one in him remains in many ways unrealized due to long-standing misunderstandings and divisions,” the bishops wrote in their letter. “During this year of commemoration, we invite you to join us in allowing the Gospel of Jesus Christ under the power of the Holy Spirit to transform us for a more visible unity manifested in prayer, acts of mercy and common pursuit of peace with justice.”

Registration for the Oct. 28 event is $10 and includes a box lunch. To register, go to www.dioceseofgreensburg.org and the section “Christian Unity.” The deadline to register is Oct. 18.

A joint statement by Pope Francis and Lutheran leaders released last year, the local letter and other resources can be found on the Greensburg diocesan website, www.dioceseofgreensburg.org, in the Christian Unity section of the homepage, and on the Facebook page “Lutherans & Catholics on the Way in Southwestern Pennsylvania!”

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