Archdiocese of Santa Fe

Office of Ecumenical / Interreligious Affairs

Rev. Ernest Falardeau, SSS
at St. Charles Parish: 242-3462.


Ecunotes - February 1999
Ecunotes - August 1999
Ecunotes - November 1999
Ecunotes - February 2000

Ecumenical Corner
March 1999 - The Father's Love
May 1999 - Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue: Recent Developments
June 1999 - Another Look at the Reformation
August, 1999 - Christian Unity in the United States
September 1999 - A Breakthrough For Christian Unity
October 1999 - Interchurch Families in Omaha
November 1999 - Thanksgiving Day and the Third Millennium

January 2000 - The Year of the Eucharist
February 2000 - Blessed in Christ, Sealed in the Spirit
March 2000 - Catholic and Ecumenical
April 2000 - Jerusalem II, 2000
May 2000 - Magnificat in the Year of Jubilee
June 2000 - Somos el Cuerpo de Cristo:   We are the Body of Christ

August 2000 - The Archdiocesan Eucharistic Congress:  Gathering the Assembly

Dixon Agreement


Archdiocese of Santa Fe Office of Ecumenical & Interreligious Affairs

Vol. 8 no. 1 February 1999

Catholic-Presbyterian Reconciliation on Pentecost Sunday

Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan and Rev. Jim Collie, Superintendent of the Presbytery of Santa Fe will meet on Pentecost Sunday, May 23, 1999, at the Civic Plaza in Dixon, New Mexico for an historic reconciliation of Roman Catholics and Presbyterians. While the division between Catholics and Protes- tants is over 500 years old, new "fuel on the fire" resulted from the acrimonious discus- sion over religion in public schools, ending with the Supreme Court decision known as the Dixon Decision in 1951. Though the debate is long over, the animosity caused by it remains in the memories of older residents and in the stories shared with a younger generation.

Rev. Collie and Archbishop Sheehan discussed the need for reconciliation at their December annual retreat of the bishops and executives of the New Mexico Conference of Churches. They believe a reconciliation in New Mexico would exemplify the kind of reconciliation Pope John Paul II prays will be done during the years preparing for the Jubilee Year 2000 and the Third Millennium. Working to reconcile people to each other in local settings will eventually lead to reconciliation of people everywhere.

The gathering on Pentecost in May is symbolic of the Spirit’s power to gather Christians together in a unity that could not be imagined two generations ago. The Catholic and the Reformed/Presbyterian Churches are not yet in "full communion", however the theological framework for such unity has already been established. Discus- sion of theological, moral and liturgical matters continue to prepare the way.

At this time, the leaders of the Church feel it is important to instruct the laity and ask them to share in the ecumenical movement. Pope John Paul II has stated repeatedly that the Catholic Church is "irrevocably committed" to the pursuit of Christian unity. He has made it one of the aims of the preparation and celebration of the Jubilee Year 2000 and the beginning of the Third Millennium. The Pontif wants this time of preparation to be prayerful and productive for both the release of prisoners and the poor, as well as for the unity of Christians.

Plans for the celebration on Pentecost include prayer on the civic plaza and appropriate liturgical services in both of the two churches. The presence of Rev. Collie in the Catholic service and of Archbishop Sheehan in the Protestant service will be a clear signal of the friendship and collaboration which have grown between the two leaders and members of their churches.

Interchurch Families will meet in Omaha: Survey Results to be Presented

The American Association of Interchurch Families will hold its third annual meeting on the campus of Creighton University, in Omaha, Nebraska, July 9-11, 1999. Dr. Michael Lawler, director of the Center for Marriage and Family will be the keynote speaker and will present the results of an extensive survey on marriage preparation. He will focus particularly on marriage preparation of interchurch couples and the special data recovered from a survey involving 10,000 couples in the United States.

The survey was jointly funded by Creighton University and the Lilly Foundation. The cost of the survey was approximately $500,000. Results of the survey were made known at the International Congress of Interchurch Families in Geneva, Switzerland last year. A brief summary of the results are available on the internet (Creighton and a published summary is also available.
The American Association of Interchurch Families was founded at an international meeting of English-speaking families three years ago in Virginia Beach, VA. Their headquarters are in Louisville, KY. Barbara and Michael Slater of Huntington Beach, California are the president and secretary of the organization.


The Vision of Christian Unity, A Life Given to the Ecumenical Quest: Essays in Honor of Paul A. Crow, Jr. Edited by Thomas F. Best and Theodore J. Nottingham.

Paul Crow has been involved in the ecumenical movement since his boyhood. He has been an active member of the World Council of Churches, its Faith and Order Commission and its General Assemblies.He is past president of the Council on Christian Unity of the Christian Church-Disciples of Christ. He has been a guiding light to the ecumenical involvement of the Disciples as well as a mentor to many who are involved in the ecumenical movement from other Christian Churches.

He was a great supporter of the Consultation on Christian Union and its president. His last position of influence was as chair of the World Council of Churches Peace, Justice and the Integrity of Creation Commission.

A gracious gentleman, a gregarious person, a scholar and pioneer in the ecumenical movement, he is now being honored as he retires from active ministry. This Festschrift honors him with commendations by the leading ecumenical personalities of our day, and by a significant number of essays indicating both his contribution and the light he shed by his writings on many issues facing the ecumenical movement.

Cardinal Francis Arinze. Meeting Other Believers:The Risks and Rewards of Inter-religious Dialogue. Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor, c1997/1998.

This short work by the president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue explains the nature of interreligious dialogue and the reason why the Catholic Church is committed to it. The fundamental thelogical reason is because God is the Creator of all and Jesus is the Savior for all. People of faith need to respect one another and need to work together to solve the enormous problems that affect everyone.

Bishop of Onitsha from 1967 to 1985, Cardinal Arinze has travelled the world over to engage in dialogue and promote peace and justice. The book is a revelation of the man and his mission.

Harare Welcomes WCC

The World Council of Churches met in its Seventh General Assembly in Harare, Zimbabwe. The theme of the Assembly was "Dwelling in God, Being His People". Over 5,000 delegates from over 300 Churches met in this third world city to celebrate their unity in eucharistic fellowship and joint decision making about the future of the movement for Christian unity.

Among the highlights were the daily liturgies. Unfortunately because of strong opposition by Orthodox Churches the large celebrations which characterized Vancouver and Canberra were absent. Today the so-called "Lima Liturgy" which was designed as a "show-piece" of what might be done together by churches in full communion, is seen as somewhat problematic. (Max Thurian was largely responsible for drawing up the Lima Liturgy following the Faith and Order Conference of the WCC in Lima, Peru in 1982. His intention was to give liturgical formulation to the theological convergence that emerged after fifty years of dialogue around Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry.)

An important news making development was the decision (2 to 1) to explore the possibility of a forum of "families of churches" - churches with world-wide affiliation - that could meet to explore a possible agenda for the World Council of Churches. The Orthodox Churches feel such a forum would give them a greater influence on the agenda of the World Council of Churches. The idea of a forum also appeals to many Catholics who would like to see closer ties between the World Council of Churches. Fr. Thomas Stransky, an ecumenical pioneer, stated in a press conference in Harare that membership in the World Council of Churches is not a closed issue for the Catholic Church. The forum could also include evangelical and pentecostal churches which have been largely outside the ecumenical movement in recent history.

NMCC Begins Reassessment

The New Mexico Conference of Churches has served the Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant dioceses and judicatories of New Mexico since the mid-1980's. It succeeded the New Mexico Council of Churches in the 1960's, following the Second Vatican Council, and later the New Mexico Interchurch Agency. At this time a number of important factors indicate the need for a reassessment of its work and direction.

The Conference of Churches is a very healthy and active organization. The largest number of participants in its activities are Roman Catholic. Though initially Councils of Churches in the United States were largely Protestant organization, thanks to Vatican II, Roman Catholic dioceses have encouraged Catholic participation in the organization and activities of councils of churches.

For over fifteen years, the New Mexico Conference of Churches has left an important mark on the landscape of our state. From task forces on faith and order (theology) to providing affordable housing and non-profit support for social outreach agencies, the New Mexico Conference of Churches has grown in its ministry and influence.

NMCC has joined lobbies and advocate groups in urging the New Mexico Legislature to be aware of religious, moral, ethical and social issues reflected in current legislation. The NMCC has joined Habitat for Humanity in providing loans and workers for individual dwellings and housing complexes (under RCA) for low income housing. The NMCC has been a vehicle for promoting the unity of the Churches and their effective and visible witness to the values of the gospel in our secular setting.

At this time the NMCC will canvas the opinion of various groups of laity and clergy to see what direction needs to be taken and what programs need to be created to meet the needs of religious people in New Mexico. The focus of the Conference is on Christian participation in active witness to faith. However the Conference is also a participant in interreligious and social concerns.

The assessment should be completed by the end of the year. The Board of Directors began the work of assessment at its annual retreat February 5-6, 1999. An ad-hoc committee of deputies from various churches representing bishops and judicatory heads has already met to direct the assessment and collate its findings.

Churches Uniting in Christ

The Consultation on Church Union (COCU) has had a rocky and difficult road. Originally designed as a vehicle for the merger of nine protestant denominations in the United States, the Consultation faced many seemingly insurmountable obstacles. First among them was the merger of churches which held strongly to apostolic succession (such as the Episcopal Church) and those for whom a hierarchy posed a major problem (such as the Presbyterian).

Nine denominations are involved in the Consultation including three historic black churches (AME, AME Zion and CME). The Roman Catholic and Lutheran churches have participated in the discussions as observers. Eight of the denominations have agreed to be "in full communion" after the signing of the agreement. The Episcopal Church is still weighing its final decision.

The break-through in recent years came with the World Council of Churches Faith and Order document "Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry" (1982) which provided a new model for conciliar fellowship. Instead of a merger, BEM sees the possibility of "full communion" among churches (altar and pulpit fellowship) while churches retain their autonomy. Joint decision-making will be important to the new version of COCU. Its new name, suggesting this important change is "Churches Uniting in Christ".

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