February 22, 2019

That All May Be One / Fr. Rick Ginther

Website offers resources in ecumenical and interreligious ministry

Fr. Rick GintherIt’s hard to imagine that I have been immersed in archdiocesan ecumenical and interreligious ministry since September 2012.

The learning curve has been a manageable one, challenging at times, but never so stressful as a workout at the gym.

A steady growth of the work of the office has resulted during this six plus years. And now, after two years of work since I arrived back in Indianapolis, the office has an active and informative website.

Slowly, with the help of the archdiocesan Office of the Archives—kudos to archivist Julie Motyka—the history of ecumenical and interreligious work in the local Church became clear.

I then drew from experiences, Church resources, papal documents and the mandate of former Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin and Archbishop Charles C. Thompson.

Finally, the webpage—thanks to the help of Brandon Evans, archdiocesan website manager—has emerged. It will continue to be updated and be an effective tool for keeping you informed and “linked.”

Let me walk you through the site: www.archindy.org/ecumenism is one way to access it. The other is to go to www.archindy.org, go to Offices, scroll down and click on Ecumenism. To the left, you will see the index to the varied pages. The “About Us” tab describes the basic mission of the office. A “History of the Office” follows.

It encompasses the work of the former Ecumenical Commission, the history of its leaders, and the creation of the Office of Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs. Some of the folks who were pioneers are still active in ministry in the local Church. Glenn Tebbe, executive director of the Indiana Catholic Conference, is one such person.

The current work of our office is outlined in bullet format. One can see how it varies and has grown during the past five years.

Founded in the documents of the Second Vatican Council, our mandate clearly puts forth why we do what we do.

Immediately following the Vatican mandate are two specific sections of publications which have been part of our current work. “That All May Be One,” my monthly column in The Criterion, is available through links. Then, a new section, “Latest News,” will contain other articles and resources that highlight the ministry’s efforts both locally and nationally.

Because the words “ecumenism” and “ecumenical” are not part of everyday usage, a brief definition is provided. A similar definition of “interfaith” and “interreligious” will soon appear.

The link “Ecumenism and the Popes” (from the 20th and 21st centuries) is a reminder that many Holy Fathers have supported the ministry our office does.

Links to the Internet are provided: to resource documents; the web sites of other Christian denominations and local churches; and the web sites of other religions. This will provide visitors resources for learning and understanding. These three sections are updated regularly.

The official archdiocesan mandate for the office and its ministry is found behind the “Statements” tab.

The “Advisory Board” tab shares the membership of our board. It will soon enter its third year. The board offers advice to me as director. They currently meet once a quarter to discuss current efforts, examine future possibilities and offer input for future direction and activities. Their input is invaluable, and they provide passion for this ministry, insights and ideas.

I hope this new resource is helpful to you. It has taken quite some time to come to fruition. I pray it remains continually helpful to the spirit of ecumenism and interreligious dialogue throughout the archdiocese.

(Father Rick Ginther is director of the archdiocesan Office of Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs. He is pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Indianapolis.)

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