Catholic-Lutheran Cooperation Fosters Understanding Mt. Prospect Churches Mark 10 Years of Sharing
Mask, Teresa, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Teresa Mask Daily Herald Staff Writer
There are members of St. Mark Lutheran Church and St. Raymond Catholic Church in Mount Prospect who remember when Lutherans and Catholics didn't mix.
Across the country, tension between Roman Catholics and Protestants was so strong it would seem a veritable miracle that the two would ever worship together.
But that "miracle" seems to be working wonders.
"Times have changed from 20 or 30 years ago when churches would hardly talk to each other," said St. Mark's associate pastor Luther Johnson. "It's good to have dialogue."
Evidence of that dialogue is apparent across the suburbs and Chicago.
Take, for example, the two Mount Prospect churches, St. Mark's and St. Raymond's, located just a few blocks from one another. For the past five years they have shared in several programs, ministering to the homeless and playing on the same basketball league.
And on Palm Sunday, the two churches signed a pact pledging to occasionally pray together in joint services and strive to remove barriers to unity.
The initiative that drew these two churches closer began 10 years ago today when the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Metropolitan Chicago Synod signed the country's first Catholic-Lutheran partnership.
Today Roman Catholics and Evangelical Lutherans will celebrate and renew that pact at St. Eulalia Catholic Church in Maywood.
"It is an affirmation ... that we indeed are brothers and sisters in Christ," said Sister Mary Ellen Coombe, associate director of the office for Ecumenical and Inter Religious Affairs for the Archdiocese of Chicago.
The pact says the desire of Jesus Christ - who Christians believe is the Messiah - is for the church to be one people brought together from all races, genders and cultures. It also says the churches will try to overcome the separation that now exists in doctrine.
There is an important distinction, however.
"We are not looking to build some super church, to have one big church that holds us all together," Coombe said. "We're not trying to make Lutherans Catholics or Catholics Lutherans. …