Reformation at 500

“That all may be one.”

Five hundred years ago this week (October 31, 1517), Martin Luther nailed the “95 Theses” to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church. No one expected the ensuing decades of religious, political, intellectual, and cultural upheaval that splintered Europe into various churches, sects, and factions. This period of unprecedented change, commonly known as the Reformation, set in place structures and beliefs that would define and painfully divide the continent and much of the rest of the world in the modern era.

It wasn’t until the early 1960s, with the work of the Second Vatican Council, that official dialogue began between Catholics and Lutherans. Restoration of unity among all Christians was a principal concern of the Council and set in motion ongoing discussions between Catholics and Lutherans resulting in ground-breaking documents aimed at seeking theological common ground, recognizing that what unites us is far greater than what divides us

Pope Francis participated in an ecumenical prayer service at the Lutheran cathedral in Lund, Sweden, on October 31, 2016, to begin the year-long commemoration of the Reformation and the progress of Catholic-Lutheran dialogue over the last fifty years. ¬†Following the lead of the Holy Father, we at St. Joseph the Worker commemorated the Reformation with a two-part program in March 2017. A symposium featuring Lutheran and Catholic speakers explored the roots and consequences of the Reformation. We then came together in an ecumenical prayer services with our Lutheran sisters and brothers to celebrate fifty years of dialogue between the Churches and pray the prayer of Jesus:  “That all may be one.”

View the videos of the Reformation commemoration in Parish Life in Pictures.

Ecumenical Commemoration of the Reformation (March 5, 2017)

Ecumenical Prayer Service (March 8, 2017)

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