“The restoration of unity among all Christians is one of the principal concerns of the Second Vatican Council.”
Unitatis Redintegratio, the Decree on Ecumenism (1964, #1)
Ecumninism promotes unity amongst Christians and is a task that gained renewed importance following the Second Vatican Council. In the Council documents, we are reminded of the call of Christ for all of us to be united and work together to further the evangelisation of all peoples and the building of the Kingdom of God.
Ecumenism is lived on a daily basis in parishes across the Diocese, in shared prayer groups, shared ministries, youth groups, ministers associations, shared safeguarding training through the National Council of Churches, as well as combined ecumenical Special Religious Education (SRE) in public schools.
Bishop Michael is the Chair of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s Commission for Christian Unity and Inter-religious Relations. On 19th May 2020, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, appointed Bishop McKenna to the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. In 2021 the Bishop was also appointed to the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission.
On 24th May 2012, the Anglican and Catholic Dioceses of Bathurst signed a Covenant.
For many years, the two dioceses have enjoyed a long standing friendship. The Covenant gives formal affirmation to the desire of these two great traditions in our part of the world to work more intentionally together.
Over 500 people attended the historic signing, which was held during a joint Anglican-Catholic Clergy day and took the format of a three-part liturgy. Beginning in the Catholic Cathedral of St Michael and St John, the congregation processed through the streets of Bathurst to the Anglican All Saints Cathedral, where the signing took place.
“It is a chance to let everyone know the Anglicans and the Catholics are good friends, with a common belief in Jesus Christ,” Bishop McKenna said. We’re making public a reality that is already there and encouraging people to celebrate all that we have in common, rather than our differences.”
The Diocesan Council for Christian Unity and Interreligious Dialogue is chaired by Mrs Anna Clayton. Anna can be contacted at: email@example.com
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Each year, between the Ascension of the Lord and Pentecost, Christians in Australia dedicate time to pray for unity among and within Churches.
In the Bathurst Community, there were many moments to gather and pray together, including
shared time of fellowship and prayer in both the Catholic and Anglican Cathedrals.
Resources can be found via the following links:
Australia Catholic Bishop Conference
National Council of Churches
NSW Ecumenical Council