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Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs


Featured Resource of the Month

President of USCCB along with other Christian Leaders Expresses Solidarity with Patriarchs Heads of Churches in Jerusalem and sends letter of concern to Prime Minister and Mayor

Read letter to Patriarchs and Heads of Churches

Read letter to Prime Mininster Netanyahu and Mayor Barkat

  BCEIA Chairman Calls for Prayers for Coptic Christians After Attacks

"I ask Catholics and men and women of faith and good will to pray for peace in Egypt and the Middle East and for all victims of religious and political hatred. I especially ask Catholics to renew their support, love and prayers for our Coptic brethren who are enduring martyrdom for the sake of Christ. May all continue to receive from heaven the grace to witness to what is good and noble in the human spirit, recovery for all those who have been injured, and eternal rest for those who have died."

Bishop Joseph C. Bambera
Diocese of Scranton, PA
Chair, Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs

2019 Week of Prayer for christian unity

“When Christians pray together, the goal of unity seems closer.” - Pope Saint John Paul II, Ut Unum Sint, 22

The International Week of Prayer for Christian Unity will be January 18-25, 2019. This year's theme is "Justice, Only Justice, You Shall Pursue". (Deuteronomy 16:20) We invite you to join us as we join our prayer with Christ's "that they may all be one." (John 17:21). Further information can be found on our site or at the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute (GEII).

Current Issues and recent news

The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Francis have published a joint statement for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.

Read the statement Between Jerusalem and Rome: Reflections on 50 Years of Nostra Aetate published by the Conference of European Rabbis, the Rabbinical Council of America and approved by Rabbi David Baruch Lau, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel and presented on August 31, 2017 to Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Starting in 1989, the Orthodox Church has proclaimed September 1st the "World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation." In 2015, Pope Francis announced the establishment of September 1st as a day of prayer for Catholics as well.  SEIA encourages you to use this day of prayer for ecumenical collaboration and reflection, especially with our Orthodox sisters and brothers.

In light of recent tragic events throughout the world, the Secretariat of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs wishes to reaffirm the Bishops' Committee statement from 2014, which calls for a consistent ethic of dialogue and condemns religious violence.

Who Can go to Holy Communion?

For Our Fellow Christians:

We welcome our fellow Christians to this celebration of the Eucharist as our brothers and sisters. We pray that our common baptism and the action of the Holy Spirit in this Eucharist will draw us closer to one another and begin to dispel the sad divisions which separate us. We pray that these will lessen and finally disappear, in keeping with Christ's prayer for us "that they may all be one" (Jn 17:21).

Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Holy Communion. Eucharistic sharing in exceptional circumstances by other Christians requires permission according to the directives of the diocesan bishop and the provisions of canon law (canon 844 §4). Members of the Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Polish National Catholic Church are urged to respect the discipline of their own Churches. According to Roman Catholic discipline, the Code of Canon Law does not object to the reception of Communion by Christians of these Churches (canon 844 §3).

For Non-Christians:

We also welcome to this celebration those who do not share our faith in Jesus Christ. While we cannot admit them to Holy Communion, we ask them to offer their prayers for the peace and the unity of the human family.

For more information, please see Guidelines for the Reception of Communion.

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