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Missionary Ecumenism: Justice, Peace, Integrity of Creation and Lutherans October 20th, 2016

by Fr. Harry Winter, OMI, Ministry of Mission, Unity, Dialogue (MUD), OMI USA Province


Rev. Harry E. Winter, O.M.I. Coordinator of Ministry of Mission, Unity and Dialogue

The upcoming visit of Pope Francis to Sweden, Oct. 31-Nov. 1, to celebrate the 499th anniversary of Luther posting his theses, trumpets the importance of both Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation (JPIC) and Missionary Ecumenism.  Lutheran World Federation (LWF) General Secretary put it this way:  “I’m carried by the profound conviction that by working towards reconciliation between Lutherans and Catholics, we are working towards justice, peace and reconciliation in a world torn apart by conflict and violence.”

His Catholic partner, Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, added:  “Lutherans and Catholics will have the possibility of an ecumenical commemoration of the Reformation, not simply in a pragmatic way, but in the deep sense of faith in the crucified and resurrected Christ” (press release from both LWF and PCPCU, Jan. 25, 2016).

Experts such as Norman E. Thomas note “Today the LWF is the strongest in staff and program of the various world confessional bodies” (Missions and Unity, 2010, p. 122). Oblates of course work side by side with Lutherans in Germany, Scandinavia, and the USA, especially our mid-western states. But the Lutheran signers of the 2013 joint booklet From Conflict to Communion come also from Brazil, Japan and Tanzania.

I recommend highly this 93 pp. booklet, which may be read and downloaded on the OMI USA website on Mission-Unity-Dialogue (www.harrywinter.org).  The booklet was written to prepare for the Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2016 celebration. Chapters one, five and six are especially readable and relevant.

Many thanks to Archbishop Roger Schwietz, OMI, who when he was Bishop of Duluth, MN, made available to me the covenant he signed between the Diocese and  the Northeastern Minnesota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  In it, the importance of JPIC and Missionary Ecumenism are clearly stated.  “We commit ourselves to:

  1. Confess to God and to each other our past and present prejudices against each other’s traditions, practices and beliefs, and allow God to forgive our sin against each other and God. (1 John 1:8-10)
  2. Acknowledge the importance of each other’s traditions, learn to appreciate the contributions of each confession to the mission and service work of the Church, and pray for the day when we celebrate the Eucharist as one community.
  1. Pray for one another in our worship, both public and private, as a sign of our unity in Christ, as God’s Holy Spirit leads us to a more open understanding of one another.
  1. Listen to the Holy Scriptures and together be instructed by them.  (2 Timothy 3:16-17) 
  1.  Strengthen our witness to Christ in our struggle for peace and justice.   (Micah 6:8;  Luke 4:18-21)  

A growing number of dioceses in the USA have similar covenants, some including Episcopalians (Anglicans) are called LARC Covenants (Lutheran, Anglican and Roman Catholic).

May every Christian involved in Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation (JPIC) pray for the success of the meeting in Sweden.  And may we sense the bonding between JPIC,  Mission-Unity-Dialogue, and Spirituality.

Read more: Acceptance of ‘Declaration’ is a Move Away From Conflict, Dr. Scott Woodward writes that the annual Prayer for Christian Unity will be heard all week in San Antonio.

Read more: Oblate School of Theology Leads Preparation for Pope’s Visit to Sweden, on OMIUSA.org

World Mission Sunday 2016: Mercy Changes the World October 19th, 2016

“Go and make of all nations my disciples” (Mt.28: 16–28)

Ninety years ago, in 1926, Pope Pius XI introduced World Mission Sunday as a time for Catholics to pray, celebrate, and support Church Missions around the world. Every year World Mission Sunday is observed on the third Sunday in October. It is a day to highlight the outreach of local churches through priests, religious and laity among the poor and marginalized and the support that enables them to provide life-changing help to people in great need. World Mission Sunday this year is observed on October 23 under the theme: Mercy Changes the World. The Pontifical Mission Societies writes in their 2016 materials: “On World Mission Sunday, we are called in a special way to be “missionaries of mercy” through prayer and participation in the Eucharist, and by giving generously to the collection.”

Celebrating 200 years with the motto, Evangelizare pauperibus misit me pauperes evangelizanturHe has sent me to bring good news to the poor– the work of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate brings the Gospel to the poorest of the poor in over 60 countries through life in community and partnership with men and women of all faiths. Currently nearly 4,000 Oblates are dedicated to bringing the good news to the poor.

A Missionary Story


With an Oblate presence that dates back to the 1950s and 129 priests currently working in Haiti, this World Mission Sunday Oblate JPIC is placing special emphasis on this country, recently devastated by Hurricane Matthew. All Oblate missionaries in Haiti are accounted for and doing reasonably well, is the good news. But Oblate missions all over Haiti have suffered significant physical damage, in towns like Fond d’Oie; Gabions; Camp Perrin, Les Cayes; Charpentier and Port-Salut. For example in Fond d’Oie, a mountainous town of about 8000 people in the western part of the country, St. Anthony Padua Parish was completely destroyed for the second time in six years. They plan to rebuild as they did after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. The Catholic church has been present in that community since 1912.

There are many ways you can help:

  1. Pray daily for the work of the Church’s missionaries.
  2. Read the full text of the Holy Father’s 2016 World Mission Sunday message here.
  3. Give generously to the Mass collection on this World Mission Sunday, October 23.
  4. Pray for recovery efforts in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew.
  5. Take Action to support Haitians by asking Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to re-instate Temporary Humanitarian Parole for Haitians. (Action Alert sponsored by Interfaith Immigration Coalition)
  6. Help Support Haiti and other Caribbean nations recover from Hurricane Matthew. (Action Alert sponsored by Catholic Relief Services)

In his 2016 message for World Mission Sunday Pope Francis writes: “In many places evangelization begins with education, to which missionary work dedicates much time and effort, like the merciful vine-dresser of the Gospel (cf. Lk 13:7-9; Jn 15:1), patiently waiting for fruit after years of slow cultivation; in this way they bring forth a new people able to evangelize, who will take the Gospel to those places where it otherwise would not have been thought possible. The Church can also be defined as “mother” for those who will one day have faith in Christ.”

Take Action to Support our Haitian Brothers and Sisters October 13th, 2016

Haiti is the midst of the natural disaster, which occurred on October 4. Hurricane Matthew has left catastrophic devastating impacts on the people and properties in Haiti, neighboring nations and United States. As people of faith, we are called to welcome the stranger, stand with the vulnerable, and love our neighbor. Right now, we have a moral and legal obligation to Haitians seeking safety.

We join with other faith groups in welcoming the “put on hold” deportation plans announced by Secretary Johnson of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) following the devastating impacts of Hurricane Matthew. However DHS plans to resume fast tracking the deportation of Haitians as soon as country conditions improve. Haiti is in no condition to receive deportees.

The Missionary Oblate presence in Haiti dates back to the 1950’s and today Oblates still conduct very active mission work in the northeastern part of the country. Join us in calling on Secretary Johnson to live up to our American values by upholding our promises to the Haitian people and ensuring Haitians can seek safety here in the United States.



Saint Francis of Assisi: An Inspiration to Care for God’s Creation October 4th, 2016


Pope Francis’ Encyclical letter Laudato Si’ opens with this line:

“LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”.[1]

Click here to read the full document.


We Are Moved by Mercy: October is Respect Life Month October 4th, 2016


The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has designated October of each year as Respect Life Month and the beginning of a yearlong pro-life program for the U.S. Catholic Church. This year’s theme is “Moved by Mercy,” which draws on a quote from Pope Francis on the Jubilee Year of Mercy: “We are called to show mercy because mercy has been shown to us.”

The USCCB’s Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities has prepared a 2016-2017 packet for parishes, schools, and faith-based ministries. Materials and resources can be downloaded in English and Spanish at www.usccb.org/respectlife.

Join The Human Thread’s Campaign with Macy’s and Kohl’s October 4th, 2016

macys-postcard-300x232Based in Milwaukee, WI, The Human Thread seeks to foster awareness that promotes solidarity between consumers of clothing and those who produce them to create a more just economy and sustainable communities.

Between now and Black Friday (Nov. 25), The Human Thread is spearheading a postcard campaign. Postcards are being sent to the CEOs of Macy’s and Kohl’s in support of a living wage at locations where clothes sold in the U.S. are made. Please join Oblates JPIC in this effort.

Visit The Human Thread’s website to read more about the issue and download campaign postcards.


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