The Catholic University of America

July 9, 2014 

Professors Participate in International Dialogue

  Dialogue participants in Rome. 

Two professors from the School of Theology and Religious Studies, Monsignor Michael Clay and Rev. Michael G. Witczak, participated in a session of the International Commission for Dialogue between the Disciples of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church, which met in Rome last month.

During the dialogue Father Witczak, associate professor of liturgical studies, presented a paper titled “The Roman Catholic Celebration of the Eucharist.” He notes that at the session, each of the participants “shared [their] own order of celebrating the Eucharist and discovered profound similarities and differences that needed to be understood more deeply.” He adds that “members of both sides are committed to discover how the Eucharist forms and transforms our faith.”

Monsignor Clay, clinical assistant professor and director of the theology and religious studies school’s Pastoral Studies Area, says, “The spirit of openness and a desire to seek a path towards unity was very present during our meetings in Rome. I left encouraged that our work had moved us forward.”

The goal of the dialogue, which started in 1979, is the full visible unity between the two denominations. The focus of the current phase of the dialogue is “Christians Formed and Transformed by the Eucharist.”

During the session participants attended Mass at the North American College and later Solemn Vespers in San Gregorio al Celio Church. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Archbishop, Brian Farrell, also participated in the ecumenical service at San Gregorio. The session participants also attended Pope Francis’ general audience where he noted the attendance of commission members, and offered his blessings for the work of the dialogue.

Father Witczak notes, “The coming meetings will serve as an opportunity to arrive at that deeper understanding so that the final goal of unity in faith and worship might become a reality.”


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