In Vancouver the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is prepared by Christian communities from different Churches, building relationships of mutual understanding and cooperation through concrete action and looking upon one another as brothers and sisters to be loved.
These are the ideas that have marked the work of Marjeta Bobnar who has been in charge of coordinating ecumenical and interreligious relations or the Archdiocese of Vancouver since 2012. The region where she works is scattered with many Churches: Anglican, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Mennonite and more.
She recounts: “The first step was to establish new relations with the different communities, as well as to sensitize Catholic environments to ecumenism.” Marjeta was supported in this effort by Archbishop J. Michael Miller and by the Focolare community to which she belongs.
This effort already produced many fruits during last year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Marjeta explains: “The majority of Catholic parishes didn’t have any contact with the other churches in their area, but expressed their desire of inviting the members of neighbouring Christian communities. This led, for example, to a contact with one Lutheran pastor who was very open to ecumenical dialogue.”
During the moments of prayer many testified to joy of being together, and to the desire of dialogue and knowing one another better. Many wanted to stay in touch and to involve more people in successive gatherings.
Together with the Anglican diocese we’ve scheduled several events for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity that will allow Anglicans and Catholics to share experiences, but also questions. At the beginning of 2013 a mixed work group of 3 Anglicans and 3 Catholics was formed. It turned out to be a beautiful experience in preparation for this year’s events.
We are also in constant contact with leaders from Lutheran Churches and ecclesial communities, the United Church of Canada, Mennonites, Pentecostals and the Armenian Apostolic Church.
As we prepare the moments of sharing and prayer, we are met with an enthusiastic response and also much gratitude for the unity we already experience.”