by Harry Winter OMI
The “Five Ways Fellowship” is an Oblate sponsored lay group with some clergy participation, which has grown out of retreats at Christ the King Retreat Center, Buffalo, MN, and our two parishes in St. Paul, MN. It consists of Christians who are convinced that there are five different ways of being Christian today. Each way brings strengths and weaknesses to our responsibility to witness to Jesus Christ and His Church.
The fact that this group is composed mainly of laity and families is a significant development from the Second Vatican Council of fifty years ago, and Pope Francis’ emphasis on the importance of lay people and families in the Church. On Nov. 5, a member of the Five Ways Fellowship from the Oblate administered St. Patrick’s Church, St. Paul, MN sent me the message of Pope Francis to the Globlal Christian Forum, which met in Tirana, Albania, from Nov. 2-4. It should be noted that the Global Christian Forum is much less clerical than the earlier national or world ecumenical groups, since the Pentecostal World Fellowship and the World Evangelical Alliance are members. In the USA, a similar group is Christian Churches Today, also with much notable lay participation.
The parishioner who sent the message, Delores Mordorski, is, with her husband Paul, a lead couple in the Cursillo Movement. The Pope’s short message encouraged all the participants, observing, “Your gathering shows that, as Christians, we are not indifferent to our suffering brothers and sisters. In various parts of the world, the witness to Christ, even to the shedding of blood, has become a shared experience of Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Protestants, Evangelicals and Pentecostals, which is deeper and stronger than the differences which still separate our Churches and Ecclesial Communities” (click here for the entire statement).
For more information on the Five Ways Fellowship, pull up the Five Ways page on the Mission-Unity-Dialogue website www.harrywinter.org.
Let us pray especially for our younger Oblate missiologists, American Fernando Velazquez, and Polish Pawel Ratajczak, as they seek to help Oblates and all Christians change our missionary approach and style from clerical to lay and family oriented. May the example of the martyrs from all Christian Churches encourage and strengthen us.
Pope Francis: Shedding of blood shared Christian experience
Originally Published by Vatican Radio (Used with Permission)
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a Message to the Global Christian Forum, which is holding a meeting in Tirana, Albania, under the theme “Discrimination, Persecution, Martyrdom: Following Christ Together.”
“I think with great sadness of the escalating discrimination and persecution against Christians in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and elsewhere throughout the world. Your gathering shows that, as Christians, we are not indifferent to our suffering brothers and sisters,” writes Pope Francis.