On the Way… Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue
Lutherans & Catholics … Together in Christ
An historic event marking the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation sponsored by the ELCA and Roman Catholic parishes of Moline, IL.
Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017
Hosted by: First Lutheran Church, Moline & St. Mary’s Catholic Church Moline
Lutherans & Catholics … Together in Christ
United in our love for Christ, Lutherans and Catholics in Moline, IL, are coming together for an historic event marking the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Please join us as we celebrate our “oneness” in Christ.
Featured celebrants will include:
- Father Michael R. Schaab Former pastor of St. Pius X Catholic Church, Rock Island, and instructor at St. Ambrose University, Davenport.
- The Rev. Lowell G. Almen Former secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
4:00 p.m.— Educational Event at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 412 10th St., Moline, IL.
5:15 p.m.—Processional from St. Mary’s to First Lutheran Church, 1230 5th Ave., Moline, IL.
5:45 p.m.—Combined worship service at First Lutheran.
6:15 p.m.—Light supper to follow.
On the Way … Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue
(Parking available at either church.)
It has taken five centuries, but local Catholics and Lutherans will finally be coming together to celebrate their unity in Christ during an historic event to mark the sooth anniversary of the Protestant Reformation this October.
“On the Way … Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue” is perhaps a first-of-its-kind gathering to help parishioners of the two mainline religions overcome their differences and embrace their common commitment to sharing God’s love. The Sunday, Oct 15 event will include a combined worship service featuring Father Michael R. Shaab, the former pastor of St. Pius X parish in Rock Island and instructor at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, and the Rev. Lowell G. AI men, longtime secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The festivities will begin at 4 p.m. with an educational program at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 412 10th St., Moline, IL. Following the program, participants will join together in a symbolic procession to nearby First Lutheran Church, where the worship service will begin at 5:45 p.m. First Lutheran is located at 1230 5th Ave., Moline. A light meal and time for fellowship will follow the service in the church hall.
The commemoration also will include an opportunity for community service that weekend. Volunteers will be joining forces with Habitat for Humanity on Saturday, Oct. 14, to work on some home improvement projects in Moline’s Floreciente neighborhood.
Congregations participating in the “On the Way” celebration include Christ the King, Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s Catholic churches, and Calvary, First, Salem and Trinity Lutheran churches, all in Moline. The public is invited to participate in both the Saturday service event and Sunday’s festivities.
The two-day commemoration is a celebration of the ever-strengthening relationship between Catholics and Lutherans, as parishioners on both sides work to bridge the divide that has existed since the Protestant “breakaway” from the Roman Catholic Church in the early 16th century.
The Lutheran Church- and the Protestant movement that was launched with it-was founded by Martin Luther, a 16th_century Catholic monk in Germany. Responding to what he viewed as questionable practices within Roman Catholicism at that time, Luther outlined his theological beliefs about God’s grace and salvation in what came to be known as the “95 Theses.” He then purportedly nailed a copy of these writings on the door of the Wittenberg Castle church on Oct. 31, 1517, stirring up controversy within the Roman Catholic Church. When Luther later refused to recant his “heretical” ideas, he was excommunicated from the Church in 1521.
It was never Luther’s desire to break away from the Catholic Church he had faithfully served as an Augustinian monk and theological instructor, but the Protestant Reformation was already gaining considerable strength; there was no turning back. Those who followed the ousted monk’s teachings came to be known as Lutherans, one of many Protestant forms of religious expression that now exist.
Luther may have been pleased that after 500 years, these two paths of Christianity are converging once again, with Lutherans and Catholics now reuniting to celebrate their “oneness in Christ” at this special event.
Although there are still some obstacles to overcome (shared Communion among them), the two denominations have made major strides in re-establishing the ties that bind all Christians together through the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. And with the recent gains, church leaders from both sides seem optimistic that the move toward solidarity will continue. In a joint statement issued earlier this year to mark the milestone anniversary of the Reformation, Bishop Donald P. Kreiss, chair of the Committee for Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s Conference of Bishops, and Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, chair of the Bishops Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, urged the two groups to continue to moving forward together, embracing the ecumenical principle that “what unites us is greater than what divides us.”
The statement reads, in part: “We call upon all Lutheran and Catholic parishes and communities to be bold and creative, joyful and hopeful in their commitment to continue the great journey ahead of us. Rather than conflicts of the past, God’s gift of unity among us shall guide cooperation and deepen our solidarity. By drawing close in faith to Christ, by praying together, by listening to one another, by living Christ’s love in our relationships, we, Catholics and Lutherans, open ourselves to the power of the Triune God.”
And the two add that, with an ongoing dialogue on overcoming differences and strengthening ties, Lutherans and Catholics are “already on the way”-together.