The following reflection is from Dalton LaTessa (second from right), a participant in Franciscan for the Summer—a summer discernment internship which includes living with the Friars while studying in Rome about ”Ecumenical and Interreligious Movements from a Catholic Perspective.”  Dalton offered the following reflection: 

When I first began Franciscan for the Summer, I had a shallow understanding of the Ecumenical movement. I did not realize it was such an important and necessary part of our faith. Since I have begun taking the class here in Rome at the Centro Pro Unione the depth of my knowledge has greatly expanded, and I have seen first-hand the passion and dedication of hardworking people to this wonderful movement. What truly helped me, not only grasp the concept, but also have a deeper spiritual understanding of Ecumenism was the interchurch prayer service we attended recently.

The service was to recognize a popular Methodist minister in the Rome ecumenical movement who was going back to England as well as celebrate 20 years since the signing of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. All five signing members of the JDDJ, (Methodist, Lutheran, Catholic, Anglican, and Reform) were represented. It was a beautiful prayer service as all the denominations were able to share in all the wonderful commonalities we have. Through this interdenominational prayer service, I realized that Ecumenism and a united Church are not just necessary for peace and doing God’s will, but also to truly experience the fullness of Christ’s joy and love in our hearts with all Christians. A meaningful moment for me was when we all said the Our Father in our own languages at the end. I was in awe of our common delight in God’s grace. Through that prayer, I was able to see the true and unshakable unity that is shared among us. Christians may still be far from complete oneness, but we are so much closer than many believe.