From 12 to 15 March, more than 60 representatives of various ecclesial movements and Christian traditions met in Rome to continue the preparation of the ecumenical event ‘Together | Gathering of the People of God’, publicly announced on 15 January by Pope Francis.
This preparation meeting dealt with various important aspects of the September gathering, ranging from the programme to the challenges of logistics and hospitality in Rome, from accessibility for all to the ecological coherence of the gathering. Participants prayed in churches of several denominations and were hosted in different places including the Jesuit General Curia, the Anglican Centre, the Waldensian Faculty of Theology, the church of Santa Maria in Portico and the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy.
The three-day meeting concluded with a private audience of Pope Francis for all participants, during which he gave his support to this visible sign of Christian unity. He thanked all the participants for their work, in his words, of “sewing unity”. He shared personal memories of his ecumenical journey and stressed the importance of forming a Church of reconciliation together.
This event, “Together | Gathering of the People of God”, will include an ecumenical prayer vigil open to all in St Peter’s Square on 30 September on the eve of the next assembly of the Synod of the Catholic Church. This vigil will be part of a programme for young people aged 18-35, which will take place in Rome on the weekend of 29 September to 1 October. It is being prepared in conjunction with the General Secretariat of the Synod, the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, and the Vicariate of Rome.
90 second video clip showing the highlights of the preparation meeting:
Photo credits: ©Marija Poklukar