CCIG facilitated meeting with delegates from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity at the World Council of Churches.
On Monday, 18 February 2013 an impressive number of representatives of the CCIG member organizations and Catholic NGOs that are in some way or other related to the CCIG accepted the invitation to attend Catholic Vespers followed by a reception on the premises of the World Council of Churches (WCC).
As a member of the board of the CCIG the Catholic Consultant to the WCC, Prof. Dr. Annemarie Mayer, had issued this invitation in order to give the delegation from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU), that came from Rome to visit the WCC, the chance to meet with those working for the many Catholic organizations present in Geneva and to get to know the richness of Catholic life in this city and its surroundings. The PCPCU delegates paid a three days’ visit to the WCC in preparation of being Catholic delegated observers at the 10th Assembly of the WCC at Busan, Republic of Korea, by the end of October/ beginning of November 2013 dedicated to the theme “God of life, lead us to justice and peace”.
Sister Georgeanne Mary Donovan, Superior General of the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary, led the Catholic Vespers in the Chapel of the Ecumenical Centre, a “beau moment d’œcuménisme, en cette fête très catholique de sainte Bernadette.” Thus the feedback of one of the Catholic participants reads. It was very impressive to see so many Catholics and so many staff members of the World Council of Churches and the other organisations in the Ecumenical Centre, as the Lutheran World Federation or the Globeethics Project, pray together in that ecumenical chapel and even join in singing the “Salve regina”. Monsignor Tomasi, Apostolic Nuncio to the UN, honoured the gathering with his presence and gave the blessing at the end of the Vespers.
During the reception that followed the PCPCU delegates from Rome got the chance to introduce themselves and their work in and for the Catholic Church. This was followed by greetings from the President of CCIG, Jean Benoit Charrin, and from the Moderator of the Commission of World Mission and Evangelism, Bishop Geevarghese Mor Coorilos from Kochin, India. Thus the two main organizations that had facilitated the meeting got the opportunity to briefly explain their aims and work.
But the evening provided also an opportunity to present the important work of the Catholic organizations present, both to the members of the PCPCU delegation as well as the staff of WCC. There was the possibility to disseminate material concerning the work of these organizations, by displaying leaflets, posters etc. But most important was the personal encounter. “Cette réunion a permis de rencontrer, outre les personnes de connaissance, les représentants du Vatican et de nombreuses OIC qui, sur le terrain, luttent pour faire triompher l’amour et la fraternité.” This feedback suggests that the support of CCIG in facilitating this event was very much appreciated, not only on the side of the PCPCU delegates as well as on that of the ecumenical organizations in the Ecumenical Centre but also by the CCIG’s own member organisations.
This event truly provided an occasion for exchange and a chance for building and renewing our ecumenical collaborations.
And in some cases this is already bearing first fruits.