The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) have jointly released resources to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017. The resources are entitled Together in Christ — Lutherans and Catholics Commemorating the Reformation. The process of developing these resources has itself involved an ecumenical dialogue and a deepening of relations between the two Churches in Canada. Over the course of two years, a joint CCCB-ELCIC working group has prepared the materials which are intended to encourage the faithful in reflecting prayerfully on the past 500 years; in offering thanksgiving to God for the progress made in the efforts toward reconciliation; and in praying for pardon and peace whenever words or actions have fallen short of what Christ demands of Christians.
The resources have been developed particularly for the use of parishes and study groups, as well as ecumenical officers of both Catholic and Lutheran traditions. The materials will also be of interest to institutes of consecrated life as well as for ecumenical meetings and days of prayer for Church unity. The resources include two key elements:
1. A five-part parish study guide entitled Together in Christ. Designed to foster mutual prayer, study, and conversation among Catholics, Lutherans and other Reformed traditions, the guide can be used either in segments or as a whole by individual or joint ecumenical study groups.
2. A homily resource for January 29, 2017, the concluding Sunday of the 2017 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and the date proposed for launching this parish study guide. Other digital resources are also available.
The letter introducing the resources is signed by the Co-Chairs of the joint working group, the Most Reverend Richard Gagnon, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Winnipeg, and the Reverend Susan Johnson, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.
The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) have also issued a jointly developed Common Prayer for the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, entitled “From Conflict to Communion Lutheran–Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017”.
Links to the resources
–Together in Christ – Cover letter by the two Co-Chairs (introducing the materials)
–Together in Christ – Promotion poster
–Together in Christ – Leader’s Guide (instructions on how to organize the discussion sessions)
–Together in Christ – Participant’s Guide
–Together in Christ – Video script (written text of the audio visual material)
–Together in Christ – Homily Resources
Link to the Common Prayer by the Pontifical Council and the Lutheran World Federation (PDF)