May 21, 2012

I was surprised by a statement in the WCR that "There has been some ecumenical activities in the area and in Edmonton, but in terms of a structure like this, apparently this is the first" ("Christian unity is a mandate from Christ," WCR, April 2).

I am saddened that the work that has gone on in our archdiocese in the past is quickly forgotten. We had a thriving Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission for many years under the leadership of Sister Rosaleen Zdunich who served under the direction of Archbishop MacNeil.

There must be information in the archives about the numerous activities that the commission coordinated. Several dedicated people served on the commission and participated in the workshops, dialogues and seminars for at least 20 years in our archdiocese.

I served on the commission as a representative from my home parish in Red Deer for six years.

I was able to bring the information about the work of the commission to the parishes in our part of the archdiocese. I am still very involved in my own parish on ecumenical efforts with PLURA churches. I was able to introduce ecumenical studies to my high school students for many years as a result of the influence of this commission.

It was very disappointing to receive the news that the commission was not going to continue after Archbishop MacNeil retired. It was an excellent effort of clergy and laity working cooperatively on matters of importance outlined by the Decree on Ecumenism.

I applaud the effort of the existing director to bring in a well-qualified ecumenist to revive ecumenical initiatives in our archdiocese. I hope and pray that this will continue.

Maybe the idea of a commission can have a new start. I say we dust off the archives and look into this more deeply.

David Bouchard, ofs
Red Deer