Vatican official calls to bring interreligious, ecumenical dialogue to ‘grassroots’

Vatican official calls to bring interreligious, ecumenical dialogue to ‘grassroots’

Cardinal Mario Grech, general secretary of the Synod on Synodality, during Mass at the Sta. Maria Goretti Parish in Manila on Jan. 23, 2024. VATICAN MEDIA

By CBCP News

January 24, 2024

Manila, Philippines

Interreligious and ecumenical dialogue must involve all parts of society and especially the ‘grassroots’ at local level, a visiting Vatican official said.

Speaking at “High-level Multi-faith Synodal Meeting” in Manila on Tuesday, Cardinal Mario Grech, general secretary of the Synod on Synodality, said such effort is necessary in order to make a genuine difference.

“This beautiful experience should not be limited to high or elite levels only but should truly reach our faithful at the grassroots level,” Grech said.

Practical ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, according to him, mainly takes place in families, on the streets, at the mall, during sports activities, at the hospital, among others.

“In other words, ecumenical and interreligious discourse evolves during the normal day to day interactions of our people,” Grech said.

“Therefore, I request you to make this beautiful experience of fraternal encounter accessible to the people of God, initiating the healing process and reconciliation towards peace and harmony,” he said.

A central figure in Pope Francis’ plan to reform the Church, the cardinal stressed that the synodal process also includes “a renewal and rediscovery of new expressions and approaches of the ecumenical and interreligious dialogue as essences of being a synodal church.”

During the meeting, top leaders of ecumenical and interreligious communities shared each other’s faith journeys, experiences of synodality in their own churches and religious communities.

They also discerned the various paths to unity as a response to the call of Pope Francis on synodality.

Earlier in the day, Grech attended a seminar with the Catholic bishops, where he provided them with an update on the Synod of Bishops on Synodality.

The three-day seminar is in preparation for the 127th plenary assembly of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on Jan. 27 to 29.

On Wednesday, the Vatican official also met with the Focolare Movement, a Catholic organization focused on the principles of unity and fraternity, in Tagaytay City.

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