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USA: Representatives from Catholic and Pentecostal Churches Meet for Ecumenical Dialogue

(ZENIT News / Washington, 10.24.2023).- Delegations representing the Catholic Church and the Pentecostal Charismatic Movement met September 27-29, 2023, for ecumenical dialogue. The meeting, hosted by the Office of Mission Engagement and Church Affairs at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, was attended by representatives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Pentecostal Charismatic Churches of North America (PCCNA), and was a continuation of a theological exchange that began in 2021 between the two faith groups, and also convened in 2022.

The three-day meeting carried the theme of “vocation,” which had been developed by the co-chairs for the meeting, Rev. Dr. Harold D. Hunter of the PCCNA and Rev. Walter F. Kedjierski of the USCCB with the intent to engage in exploratory dialogue on issues related to ritual, liturgy, and sacraments. This year, Most Rev. Peter L. Smith, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon, and a member of the USCCB’s Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs was a participant.

The dialogue included the offering of three papers, one by Rev. Leonardo J. Gajardo, of the Diocese of Gary on “Lex Orandi, Lex Serviendi: Roman Catholic Theology of Ordained Ministry in Select Texts from the Rites of Ordination,” and Rev. Kedjierski on “A Brief Consideration of the Sacrament of Marriage from a Catholic Perspective for Pentecostal Christians,” and Rev. Dr. Martin W. Mittelstadt of Evangel University on “Called: A Pentecostal Theology of Vocation.”

In addition to having an opportunity to gather and pray in the University of Notre Dame’s Law School Chapel, the meeting was enhanced by hearing Jerry Powers of the Catholic Peacebuilding Network, and Keith Davis on “What the Ancients Knew about the Heavens, and What Scientists Know” in the Digital Visualization Theater. The gathering was enriched by an Evening Prayer and fellowship meal shared with members of the religious order, the Congregation of the Holy Cross.

Participants attending the meeting included:

  • Dr. Kimberly Belcher, University of Notre Dame
  • Rev. Dr. David Han, Pentecostal Theological Seminary
  • Dr. Andrew Prevot, Georgetown University
  • Rev. Jennifer Thigpenn, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel
  • Rev. Dr. Frederick L. Ware, Associate Dean of the Howard University School of Divinity

Observers at the meeting included:

The provisional dialogue has been sponsored by the PCCNA’s Christian Unity Commission and the USCCB’s Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, and the continuation of this dialogue will be determined by the leadership of both organizations.

The PCCNA represents 40 million Christians through its member denominations and organizations serving in Canada, the United States, and Mexico (www.pccna.org). The USCCB is the assembly of the hierarchy of Catholic bishops who jointly exercise pastoral functions on behalf of the Christian faithful of the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands. (www.usccb.org)