A LANDMARK MOMENT was experienced in St. Saviour's Church, Arklow, on Sunday as the Church of Ireland community welcomed a Catholic Archbishop of Dublin to preach in the church for the first time.
As part of Christian Unity Week Archbishop of Dublin Diarmaid Martin accepted an invitation to attend the service hosted by St. Saviour's.
Clergy and parishioners from Ss. Mary and Peters' Church, St. Joseph's, Templerainey, Arklow Methodist Church and Arklow Presbyterian Church gathered at St. Saviour's for an enlightening ecumenical service which included the joyful sounds of Arklow Revival Gospel Choir.
Rev. Nigel Sherwood welcomed Archbishop Martin and outlined his presence as a significant occasion for St. Saviour's.
In his homily Archbishop Martin said the call to ecumenism is an urgent call.
He told the congregation in Arklow that prayer is the essential stepping stone towards overcoming our 'self-generated' divisions.
He later said that a dimension of silence and contemplation must also form part of our contribution as believers to our world, where so often the emptiness of noise prevents us from even asking the fundamental questions about life.
'I believe that perhaps the time is ripe that we in Ireland ought to undertake a similar review of where we are in our ecumenical relations. We need to do so in order to understand better the path forward,' said Archbishop Martin.
'An important dimension of such a review would also be address the doubt and scepticism and tiredness that can easily creep into our relations. There are those who talk of an ecumenical winter or a lack of progress after many years of conversations. Such scepticism can easily lead to frustration and immobilism and drain our spiritual energies in the ecumenical field. There is a danger that many will become content with the status quo and simply go through the motions on occasions like the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity,' he added.
Outlining the call to ecumenism as 'urgent' Archbishop Martin added, 'We need to constantly remind ourselves of just how central ecumenical endeavour is for the Christian life. Vatican II's Decree on Ecumenism sets out the negative consequences of our divisions. Our division 'openly contradicts the will of Christ, provides a stumbling block to the world and inflicts damage on the most holy cause of proclaiming the good news to every creature'.