Events planned to celebrate Notre Dame’s ecumenical commitment

Author: Amanda Skofstad

The University of Notre Dame will host two public events related to ecumenism and the relationships among Christians in the world. 

The first event is an ecumenical prayer service at 7:30 p.m. March 26 (Tuesday) in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. The Notre Dame Liturgical Choir will provide music, and members of the local community are invited to attend. Co-presiding ministers at the prayer service will be Christian clergy from the Notre Dame community, and local clergy are invited to attend and vest. Honored guests will include:

  • Rev. Chris Ferguson, General Secretary, World Communion of Reformed Churches
  • The Most Rev. Dr. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General, Anglican Communion
  • Rev. Dr. Martin Junge, General Secretary, Lutheran World Federation
  • Cardinal Kurt Koch, President, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
  • Rev. Dr. J.C. Park, President, World Methodist Council

The second event is a panel discussion titled “From Conflict to Communion: The Future of Christians Together in the World” at 5 p.m. March 28 (Thursday) in the McKenna Hall Auditorium. Panelists will be senior leaders from a variety of Christian traditions, and the discussion will be moderated by Professor Neil Arner of Notre Dame’s Department of Theology.

Both events are free and open to the public.

The prayer service and panel discussion are being hosted in tandem with a private ecumenical consultation on campus between leaders of five Christian traditions — Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Reformed and Roman Catholic — that have associated themselves with the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. This 1999 document expresses a shared understanding on the nature of salvation as being by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and addresses fundamental issues that have divided Christians for centuries. The goal of the ecumenical consultation at Notre Dame is to provide recommendations for how the Christian communities that have adopted the Joint Declaration can demonstrate deeper communion with each other.

“Notre Dame’s commitment to ecumenism is an essential dimension of our character as a Catholic university,” said Rev. Gerry Olinger, C.S.C., vice president for mission engagement and church affairs. “We share in Jesus’ prayer for unity, and we seek to build a culture of encounter which leads to greater understanding, collaboration and love. Notre Dame strongly agrees with Pope Francis when he says that ecumenism is not optional.”

The University of Notre Dame has had a long-standing commitment to ecumenism, including its stewardship of the Tantur Ecumenical Institute, located in Jerusalem. Founded by Pope Paul VI and Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., the mission of the Tantur Ecumenical Institute is to catalyze among Christians a culture of encounter, understanding, civil discourse and bridge building.

Contact: Amanda Skofstad, assistant director of media relations, 574-631-4313,

Originally published by Amanda Skofstad at on March 11, 2019.