Ecumenical Dialogue in Africa
Bernhard Udelhoven explored the topic: ‘Where contagious faith empowers the poor: Pentecostal challenges and lessons for the Catholic Church’. He underlined how the new Pentecostal churches in Zambia have managed to empower people, especially the poor. They offer responses to the needs of the local people who in general desire to conquer evil powers such as witchcraft and social misery. We Catholics are invited to go and encounter these churches and learn why they are able to attract so many followers.
Paul Reilly provided a presentation on ‘Ecumenical Dialogue in Ethiopia: Particularity, Stakes, and Challenges’ highlighting the ecumenical work of the M.Afr. among the Orthodox in Ethiopia. Since the arrival of the first confreres in 1967, ecumenism has been a way of life in Ethiopia. Despite the evident challenges of being Latin rite missionaries working in oriental rite dioceses, as well as historical tensions between Catholics and Orthodox, our confreres do their best to adapt to this ecumenical reality with patience and humility.
Andreas Göpfert gave an overview of how ecumenism is integrated into the two Synods on Africa using Ecclesia in Africa and Africæ Munus as reference texts.
How do we M.Afr. and how do our local churches receive these official texts? Andreas also helped us to reflect on how we can integrate ecumenical dialogue into our different missionary activities today. What are the different types of dialogue?
Who is dialogue destined for?
Why it is so important to be involved in the ecumenical dialogue?
How can we help educate people to discern ways to live and practice ecumenical dialogue?
Answering the following questions might be a good step to get more involved in the ecumenical dialogue today:
- How can we awaken the interest of confreres to discover the Christian brothers and sisters of other denominations who live around them? What can we offer them?
- How can we encourage our confreres to encounter Christian brothers and sisters of other denominations? By what means?
- What can we offer our confreres to reflect on the five dimensions of ecumenism so that they can take them into consideration in their pastoral work?