A dozen chaplains from the United States Military Academy at West Point representing different faith traditions visited the Holy Mountain on Thursday, June 23.
The chaplains first met in the library at Graymoor with Deacon Tom Rich, TSA, before engaging in a discussion regarding ecumenism with Father Jim Loughran, SA, Vicar General and Director of the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute. Ecumenism is defined as the principle or objective of promoting unity among the world’s Christian Churches.
Topics discussed included Eucharistic hospitality, talking points about the Catholic Sacraments, how different denominations of Christianity approach ecumenism and Christian diversity.
“The dialogue continues to go on about the nature of all the Sacraments, and the nature of our devotion to saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary. All these things that we think are distinctly Catholic or distinctly Protestant or distinctly Orthodox have been discussed from time to time,” Father Jim said to the chaplains.
He continued: “How do we face this charge of uniformity? We believe, as well, that we have diverse gifts. All of the gifts that the diversity of Christian thought and the diversity of the Christian experience have to contribute to the whole, one Church.”
The chaplains attending expressed their support of ecumenism.
“The word ‘Christ’ is in Christian unity,” one chaplain explained. “I hope the essential (thing) we can all agree on is Jesus Christ.”
Servant of God Father Paul Wattson, SA, founder of the Society of the Atonement, was an apostle of Christian Unity. Throughout his life, Father Paul sought to realize Jesus’ prayer at the Last Supper “that all may be one.” Father Paul’s legacy has driven others to embrace ecumenism and to become peacemakers, bridge-builders and reconcilers in our world.