The Commission for Evangelisation and Formation offered two related Ecumenical Study Days when Sr Margaret Shepherd presented Milestones in Modern Jewish Catholic Relations in October of last year and Della Shenton DHS portrayed Jerusalem: the Spiritual Heart of the World this March. Both speakers shared their great passion and invited their respective audiences to reflect on these subjects in relationship with our Christian faith.
In October Sr Margaret, who is Secretary to the Committee for Catholic Jewish Relations for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, illustrated the growth and development of the dialogue between the Jewish and Catholic faiths. Quoting the resources compiled by the Scarboro Missions Interfaith Department she pointed to the many encouraging encounters between Jews and Catholics since the end of the Second World War and to the emerging cooperation since Vatican II. In the light of this true progress, she did not ignore the difficult times that preceded it or the challenges and responsibilities interfaith dialogue still faces. Crucially she reminded her audience that they too must embrace those challenges.
More recently Della Shenton also talked of shared responsibilities when she considered how we can move from three faiths in conflict to an “open door of prayer beyond the smoke of bombs and war”. (Pope Francis, August 2014) Describing herself as an “experienced pilgrim”, Della shared her extensive knowledge and experience of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. She spoke movingly about this very special part of the world and divided her talk into three parts: the Jewish, Christian and Muslim heritage of Jerusalem, through which she portrayed several thousand years of the Holy Land’s history.
Both speakers highlighted the significant roles played by recent Popes in promoting peace and understanding. While Sr Margaret showcased the historic visit by Pope Saint John Paul II to Israel in 2000 during which he prayed at Judaism’s holiest site, the Western Wall, Della finished her talk with Pope Francis’ joint prayer for peace which was said in the Vatican garden with the Israeli and Palestinian presidents after his visit to the Holy Land in 2014.
Listen to both these talks by clicking on the links below.
The Commission for Evangelization and Formation in the Diocese of Brentwood is pleased to offer these Ecumenical Study Days. Read more about the study days and listen to more podcasts taken from them at What Good News Ecumenical Study Days.