After five hundred years …

4 December 2017 | General Interest

Anne-Marie and Michael Matuschka cut the celebration cake

During 2017 many Catholic and Lutheran communities around the world have gathered together to commemorate the time, on 31 October 1517, 500 years ago, when Martin Luther posted ninety-five theses concerning abuses in the Church.

A Statement to mark this occasion was jointly signed by Rev. John Henderson, Bishop of the Lutheran Church of Australia and Archbishop Christopher Prowse, Chairman of the Bishops Commission for Ecumenism and Inter-Religious Relations from the Catholic Bishops Conference.  The Statement acknowledges that Luther’s action is understood to mark the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.  It also acknowledges that “Five hundred years on, even though both the situation of the church and the world situation are very different from the time of Martin Luther, the effects of the Reformation endure.”   Over recent decades much has been done to redress the negative consequences of the splintering of Christianity at international, national and local levels.  This work has been described as a journey from “Conflict to Communion.”

In Penola, on Sunday 3rd December, the journey towards unity took on a local flavour.    Members of each of the Lutheran and Catholic communities with their leaders, Pastor Greg Vangsness and Father Peter Fountain, gathered at the Mary MacKillop Centre to enjoy each other’s company, to share a light lunch and to celebrate the faith we share in common.  It was a hope-filled, practical step forward which, with continued good will and firm resolve, can only gain momentum.

Michael Matuschka leading prayers