January 10, 2014

Archbishop Tobin to preach at Jan. 19 ecumenical prayer service at cathedral

By Sean Gallagher

Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin and representatives of other Christian communities in Indianapolis will pray on Jan. 19 for Christian unity, and Catholics across central and southern Indiana are invited to join them.

They will gather at 5 p.m. on Jan. 19 at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral, 1347 N. Meridian St., in Indianapolis, for the opening prayer service for the Week of Christian Unity.

The service, at which Archbishop Tobin will preach a homily on the need for greater focus on Christian unity and collaboration, is co-sponsored by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and the Church Federation of Greater Indianapolis.

A reception will follow across the street at the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center.

Father Rick Ginther, director of the archdiocesan Office of Ecumenism, appreciates his relationships with Christians of various traditions, and is looking forward to the Jan. 19 prayer service.

“I have been blessed to have numerous opportunities to interact with other Christians throughout my life,” said Father Ginther, who also serves as pastor of St. Margaret Mary and St. Patrick parishes in Terre Haute. “Any time we gather, something right and good is being done. I can feel it deep within me.”

Father Ginther sees an important role for the Church in central and southern Indiana in promoting Christian unity since the Roman Catholic Church, along with the Churches of the east, “is the Mother Church of all Christian churches.”

“If we do not promote unity and cooperative efforts to address the needs dignity and needs of humanity, then we are not fulfilling the Gospel mandate of the Lord,” said Father Ginther, who also serves as dean of the Terre Haute Deanery. “It is paramount, therefore, for the archdiocese to be very active in promoting good relationships with our brothers and sisters of other Christian churches, but always as a partner, even in leadership.”

The ecumenical prayer service that he is helping organize will include prayers, Scripture readings, the singing of hymns and an exchange of a sign of peace.

Father Ginther thinks Christians coming together to pray is an important step in promoting unity among believers.

“Our world greatly needs a fostering of unity,” he said. “Such gatherings remind us that we must begin with our ‘sameness’ as Christians and as human beings if we are to bring about a harmony for unity from amidst our differences. Knowing of common longings, common needs, expressed in common prayer, builds trust.” †

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