Pope Francis offers message, gifts for Mundelein gathering

  • Pope Francis delivers his blessing to faithful on Sunday from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.

    Pope Francis delivers his blessing to faithful on Sunday from his studio window overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. Associated Press

Updated 9/10/2015 7:02 PM

Pope Francis sent a personal greeting and gifts to participants at an interfaith event being hosted at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced Thursday.

Members of the Catholic and Evangelical faiths from around the world are in Mundelein to participate in a third annual conversation organized by Saint Mary of the Lake, the Archdiocesan Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, and ACT 3, a national network of churches.


"The Holy Father is constantly reminding us that our acceptance of the message of salvation is inseparable from genuine fraternal love," said Archbishop Blase Cupich. "As the Pope has said, 'Evangelization would not be complete if it did not take into account the unceasing interplay of the Gospel and of man's concrete life, both personal and social.'"

Each participant received a copy of the Pope's Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (on the Joy of the Gospel) and his Encyclical Laudato Si' (on the Care of Creation), to indicate his support for their goal of working for the proclamation of the Gospel, according to a news release.

In his message to the group, Pope Francis wrote: "We know that the visible unity of the Church is the work and gift of the Holy Spirit, who will bring it about in His time. Meanwhile, any effort we make in favor of the unity of Christians is necessary and urgent. The world needs to know Jesus. We must proclaim Him without any pause, together. The division among Christians is the fruit of our sin, and it is a scandal and our greatest impediment for the mission for which the Lord has called us: announcing the Good News of the Gospel."

The Rev. Thomas Baima, Catholic co-chair of the dialogue and Vicar for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the Archdiocese of Chicago, said the gifts and message were a "significant gesture" from the Pope.

"In addition to being a gracious personal communication, it stresses again Pope Francis' conviction that the future path is one of fraternity and action. It also affirms that relational dialogues have a vital place in the ecumenical movement," Baima said.

A copy of the original letter, which was written in Spanish, and an English translation, are available on the Archdiocese of Chicago's website at www.archchicago.org/departments/ecumenical/

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