Pope sends message for launch of ecumenical community in New York

Pope Francis offers his encouragement to the "Community at the Crossing", an ecumenical project for young people sponsored by the Episcopal Cathedral of St John the Divine in the US city of New York.

By Christopher Wells

The Episcopal Cathedral of St John the Divine in New York hosted a special ecumenical service on Thursday evening, the first service of the new Community of the Crossing project.

The Community at the Crossing is a year-long program of study, prayer, service to the poor, and community life for American young people from any Christian denomination. The program is being undertaken in collaboration with the Catholic Chemin Neuf Community, and draws inspiration from a similar program, the Community of St Anselm, organized by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Pope Francis himself sent a video message which was broadcast during the ecumenical service. Participants also heard from the spiritual head of the Anglican Communion, Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury; the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church; and the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.

The Pope's message

In his video message, Pope Francis told young people who will participate in the program that they “will be witnesses to God’s love and tenderness,” reminiscent of the first Christians.

He reminded them that those who saw the earliest Christian communities would say of them, “See how they love one another!” And he expressed his hope “that this will happen here in Saint John the Divine.”

“Choosing the humble path of common life is worth more than a thousand words.”

The Pope noted that the name of the program recalls the crossing between nave and choir, and denotes a place of meeting between young people of all Christian denominations.

Christian unity is future of our faith


“My hope,” he said, “is that this community will offer an opportunity to revive the desire for unity of Christians and of society in New York and even in the United States.”

“The future of faith in our world passes through Christian unity.”

He called on them to continue to work together to achieve this unity, noting that although Christians do not agree on many points, we nonetheless choose to love one another. “Love is stronger than all disagreement and divisions. It brings peace where peace does not seem possible.” And recalling the Cross of Christ, he insisted that Jesus Christ is a bond that is stronger and deeper than our cultures, our political options, and even our doctrines.”

The Holy Father concluded his message by thanking the young people for their courage and commitment, and to the various organizations supporting the initiative.

In particular, he mentioned the Cardinal Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan; and the Episcopal Bishop of New York, Andrew Dietsche, saying, “My heart rejoices when I think that the Catholic Archdiocese and the Episcopal Diocese are working hand in hand.”

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09 September 2022, 00:01