Written by Sherry
Wednesday, 20 May 2009 10:02
I know that I should be working but I just had to share this find:
It's an amazing initiative taking place between a Catholic parish and a large evangelical church north of Detroit, called "Common Ground". Here's some history:
"The leaders at Kensington (the evangelical church) had wanted Fr. Riccardo to come and be interviewed during their Sunday morning services. But because Fr. Riccardo was busy with Sunday Masses, they decided to videotape an interview and use that in their services.
The interview was conducted by Kensington's lead pastor, Steve Andrews, in the sanctuary at St. Anastasia, just in front of the Blessed Sacrament tabernacle. Pastor Andrews asked about, and Fr. Riccardo cleared up, many of the misunderstandings that Evangelicals and Protestants have toward Catholicism. Fr. John also suggested some important things that Catholics can learn from Protestants.
Large portions of the interview were played before the Kensington Congregation on two Sunday mornings, and over the next few weeks over 2,000 copies of the interview on DVD were sold through the Kensington Church's bookstore.
Then, last night (Dec 15, 2006), at St. Anastasia, the two churches gathered for an evening of prayer. The two pastors lit several candles placed on a small table before the altar before the service began, but Steve Andrews was having a very difficult time lighting his candle. Finally he gave up and commented over his open microphone, "I guess I wasn't suppose to be Catholic." (We laughed with him.) Fr. John helped Steve get the candle lit, but in the process knocked it to the floor, which Steve retrieved, and the process started all over. It was both funny and poignant illustration of these two ministers of the Gospel, neither perfect but both trying their best to honor God and lead their congregations to ask God that we might be one.
About 500 attended. There was music from both churches, both pastors gave short talks on prayer, Scripture was read (Luke 11:5-13), members of both congregations led us in a series of prayers for a variety of common concerns, and a basket filled with written petitions from the congregation was brought forward and placed before the altar. Then, the two men knelt before the altar and the Blessed Sacrament beyond, we all knelt with them for an extended time of silent prayer asking God to hear us, heal us, and unite us, so that the world would know that Jesus was sent by the God the Father. Both pastors made it very clear that as Jesus prayed in John 17, the lack of unity of Christians in the world, made Christians oftentimes the laughing stock of the world and hindered Christians' ability to proclaim the Gospel effectively.
Evangelicals kneeling for prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Amazing.
There is a wonderful 4 min clip of the filmed interview with Fr. Riccardo here. I've watched and it is great. This man knows his faith and has an incredible ability to articulate it clearly and winsomely. Watch and see what you think.
You can purchase the DVD here. it got two thumbs up from the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus and Tom Allen of Catholic Exchange as well as from some evangelical heavy hitters like Timothy George.