ALLOUEZ — The Diocese of Green Bay hosted a day of dialogue between Lutheran and Catholic leaders Jan. 10 at the St. Francis Xavier Conference Room. More than 50 people, primarily clergy and lay leaders from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Diocese of Green Bay, attended the event.
The gathering, titled “Dare We Hope? Lutherans and Catholics Together in the Light of Communion in Growth,” was a follow-up to conversations between the two churches in 2018, which was the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Mickey Mattox, Ph.D., a professor of theology at Marquette University in Milwaukee who is an expert on Catholic-Lutheran dialogue, served as keynote speaker.
In his opening remarks and welcome, Bishop David Ricken told the group that today’s society faces many challenges and it’s up to faith leaders to respond.
“It’s time to stop worrying about our differences and focus on what we have in common in Christ,” he said.
Maximus Cabey, who serves as diocesan ecumenical officer and Child and Youth Faith Formation director, said the gathering provided a “fruitful day of learning more about each other and about the current state of the global Lutheran-Catholic dialogue,” as well as time of fellowship.
“There was a palpable sense of the groups’ desire to look past our differences — without denying or downplaying them — to see Christ in one another, to affirm what we have in common and to celebrate that we are brothers and sisters in Christ,” said Cabey.
In his keynote address, Mattox challenged those in attendance to consider these commonalities and differences as they seek ways to engage each other in dialogue, with the hopes of one day coming together in a greater measure of unity.
“While we are always looking prophetically to a day when we will be again one, these kind of events are important for reinvigorating ecumenical dialogue,” said Cabey, “and for inviting more Catholic, Lutheran and other Christian clergy and lay people to find ways to come together to pray and serve our communities in a way that glorifies our Lord and that creates real community impact.”