The Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs serves as a resource to the Bishop, the clergy, diocesan offices, parishes, and faithful of the Diocese of Harrisburg to promote cooperation and dialogue with the Orthodox and other Churches of East, the Christian communities of the Reformation, and other religious traditions. Its work is guided by the teaching and directives of the Second Vatican Council, the Holy See, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Bishop of Harrisburg. In particular, the Office:
Interreligious Dialogue in the Diocese
- Supports local cooperation of Catholics with members of other Christian communions and other religions.
- Promotes dialogues among Christians groups as well as dialogues between Christians and those of other religions
- Provides official representation of the Diocese to Christian and non-Christian groups alike
Ecumenism and Ecumenical dialogue promote the full, visible unity of all Christians [Unitatis Redintegratio §1], the unity for which Jesus himself prayed (John 17: 21).
Interreligious Dialogue helps the Christian faithful to “maintain good fellowship among the nations” (1 Peter 2:12), and…to live for their part in peace with all people (Romans 12:18) so that they may truly be sons of the Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:45). [Cf. Nostra ætate §5]
In the Diocese of Harrisburg, the unity of Christians is being lived out in our parishes daily. As the Christian people from the various Churches and ecclesial communities join together to hear and study the Scriptures, pray, celebrate the liturgy, and serve the needs of the people of Central Pennsylvania they give witness to the unity that already exists among them and look for the fulfillment of Christ’s own High Priestly prayer, “that they may be one.”
Interreligious dialogue in the Diocese and the working together of people of every religious tradition, and of none, is encouraged and approached with great sensitivity, on account of the spiritual and human values enshrined in the religious beliefs and customs of those who live within the 15 counties that make up the Diocese.
Rev James E. Lease currently serves as the Ecumenical Officer for the Diocese of Harrisburg. Additionally, a committee consisting of clergy, religious and laypersons from throughout the Diocese serves as a forum for discussion of current ecumenical and interreligious issues and assists in the planning and coordination of the activities of the office.
If the Office can assist you in promoting dialogue, understanding, peace, and cooperation, please contact us.
- Bi-monthly Luncheons for LARC Clergy and also Catholic-Orthodox Clergy.
- LARC Covenant – Lutheran, Anglican, Roman Catholic Covenant signed on May 23,1993 provides for occasions of joint prayer and greater cooperation between these Churches.
- LARC Day of Dialogue, an annual all day conference on a specific topic, open to all.
- LARC Vespers: scheduled annually and publicized by the members of the LARC covenant.
- Formation of parish Ecumenical committees.
- Formation of local LARC covenants.
- Participation in Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
- Participate in ecumenical prayer services in Lent, Advent and Thanksgiving and other times as appropriate.
- LARC Covenant
- Centro Pro Unione
- Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions (Nostra Aetate)
- Decree on Ecumenism (Unitatis Redintegratio)
- Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, Vatican, March 25, 1993
- Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue
- Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
- Ut Unum Sint, by Pope John II (On Commitment to Ecumenism) May 25, 1995
- Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute – resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, held annually from January 18 – 25