Ecumenism in All Saints Parish
By Maureen Condon Horon
A parishioner recently enquired of me, "Where did you get your passion for ecumenism?” As my cousin once told me, "You come by it honestly." My devout, Irish Catholic mother, a school teacher (to whom our Pastor sent the converts to be prepared for the sacraments) was very ecumenically minded before it was common to be so. My parents had good friends who were not Catholic and there were some mixed-marriages in our extended family. My mother believed that, although we belonged to the One True Church, if someone belonged to another denomination and followed the dictates of their church and their own conscience; they had every chance of attaining heaven, as did we.
Father Estaris (RIP) was pastor of St. Patrick's Church, and some 20 years ago he asked me if I would represent him at the Downtown Ministerial Group. To which I gladly said "Yes!" At that time this group consisted of St. Augustine's Anglican Church, Christ Trinity Lutheran Church, Southminster United Church, and St. Patrick's Church. We took part in reader’s exchanges and Lenten Lunches. In years to come, we welcomed Pastors from First Baptist Church, St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Lethbridge Mennonite Church and Salvation Army Community Church.
We meet as a group four or five times a year. In addition to a reader’s exchange during the Epiphany season, we take part in several joint activities
Each denomination takes a turn hosting an annual Lenten Lunches (soup and devotionals) every Thursday noon during Lent,
We at All Saints Parish, participate in the service during The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and have hosted very successful services these past two years, with a substantial free-will offering donated to The Interfaith Foodbank.
Several years ago when the First Baptist Church hosted the Service for Christian Unity, they asked Bishop Henry to be their guest speaker. Bishop Henry was pleased to accept and gave an excellent homily to a packed church - something which wasn't even dreamt of in my youth because there is now more interest in the ecumenical movement.
Twice yearly, in November and March, All Saints Parish donates personal care kits to be distributed at the city-sponsored Lethbridge Connect Project which caters to the homeless and working poor.
On Pentecost Sunday a 10 to 15 minute service of hymns and scripture readings is held outdoors in front of The Sterndale-Bennett Theatre by a joint group of churches.
It was a distinct honor in 2009, for me to have been invited by Father James Hagel, and eventually appointed by Bishop Henry, to a two-year term as a member of the Calgary Roman Catholic Diocesan Commission for Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Affairs.
This is a most rewarding stewardship where I have received many blessings; met a multitude of like-minded Christians; have been given the opportunity to share aspects of our Catholic Faith; and have learnt about other Faith traditions.
My ecumenical endeavors are enhanced and made much richer by the wholehearted support of Fr. Kevin, Fr. Nathan and Fr. Roque.