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

Seeking the face of God in the Scriptures

Archbishop José H. Gomez

Prayer is seeking the face of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church recalls the story of how St. John Vianney once found a peasant praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The saint asked him what he was doing, and the man replied: “I look at him and he looks at me.”

Events

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February 13, 2016

  • Saturday, February 13

    World Day of the Sick Mass, Mass and Anointing of the Sick, 12:30 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels,  555 W Temple St, Los Angeles. Archbishop Gomez presiding with other bishops and priests. Special section designated for those in wheelchairs with volunteers available to help. Limited parking available for $8. Carpooling is encouraged. For more info: Chuck Huebner at cjhuebner @gmail.com or Jim LoCoco at flavialococ0@msn.com.

     

     

    Bosco Tech’s Yurak Memorial Run & Kids’ Fun Run, Check in begins at 8 a.m., Memorial Run at 9 a.m., Fun Run at 10 a.m., Bosco Tech, 1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead. Race registration is $35 per person. For school groups of 10 or more, the cost is $30. To register online, go to www.boscotech.edu/events or www.yurak.eventbrite.com; same-day registration available at check-in table. Included: racing fees, finisher medal, goodie bag and BBQ lunch. Plaques will be awarded to the top five male and female runners and to the fastest runner under 18.All proceeds to benefit Bosco Tech’s Yurak Athletic Center (YAC). 

     

    Cabrini Literary Guild “Sweetheart Bingo” Meeting, Sat., Feb.13 at Oakmont Country Club, 3100 Country Club Drive, Glendale. Meeting starts at 11 a.m., lunch at 12 p.m. ($30/person), and bingo social at 1 p.m. Bingo cards are $5 each, or $20 for five cards. For reservations, call (818) 790-3485.

     

    Footprints: Making Tracks for Neighbors in Need, 8:30 - 11:30 a.m., Bishop Amat High School track, 14301 Fairgrove Ave., La Puente. Catholic Charities San Gabriel Region will present this annual walk/run fundraiser to increase awareness about poverty, hunger and homelessness in the San Gabriel Region. Proceeds benefit those lacking basic needs, such as food, clothing, transportation and shelter. This is a come anytime, leave anytime event, with the first lap around the track to be led by Bishop David O'Connell. For more information, visit lentenfootprints.yolasite.com or contact Mary Romero at (213) 251-3582 or mromero@ccharities.org.

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