Venice, Italy, August 1-8, 1987


The third meeting of the International Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue was held in Venice, at the Casa Cardinal Piazza from August 1-8, 1987. This is the third phase of the international dialogue sponsored by the Vatican Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity and certain representatives of the classical Pentecostal Churches. It is scheduled to last five years. Earlier meetings were held in Riano, Italy (1985) and Pasadena, California, USA (1986). Co-chairmen of this phase are Rev. Justus du Plessis (Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa) for the Pentecostals and Rev. Kilian McDonnell, OSB, St John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota (USA).

The topic of this meeting followed the direction set in previous years. The theme in 1985 had been the "Communion of Saints". In 1986 the discussion focused on "the Holy Spirit and the New Testament Vision of Koinonia". The theme in 1987 in Venice was "Koinonia, Church and Sacraments". Papers were presented on this theme by Dr. Howard M. Ervin (Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA) for the Pentecostal side and by Prof. Hervé Legrand, OP, (Institut Catholique, Paris. France) for the Catholic side. These papers formed the basis for a fruitful dialogue which took place during the week in a context of prayer and atmosphere of friendship. The discussion raised critical questions which each group addressed to the others. The answers formulated on both sides helped the members to test the possibility of convergencies, common ground, as well as differences held between Pentecostals and Roman Catholics.

An opening prayer service took place on August 2. Each day of the meeting began and ended with prayer and reading from Scripture. A closing service of worship was held on August 7, There was also a special commemoration of Dr. David du Plessis, well known Pentecostal leader who was a pioneer of dialogue between Catholics and Pentecostals and co-chairman of the first two phases of this dialogue, which began in 1972. Dr. Du Plessis died in February, 1987 at the age of 82.

During the week, the joint Commission was introduced to the Christian history and culture of Venice and surrounding areas. They heard a lecture on the biblical themes of the mosaics of the basilica of St Mark's in Venice by Dr. Lawrence Snell of Birmingham, England after being welcomed to the Cathedral during a Sunday service. They were al so given a guided tour of the medieval Cathedral and parish church at Torcello as well as the Franciscan Friary on the island of San Francesco del Deserto where St Francis of Assisi had spent some time.

His Eminence, Cardinal Marco Cé, Patrìarch of Venice, hosted a dinner for the joint Commission, bringing warm greetings from the diocese of Venice. He was accompanied by Mgr. Giuseppe Visentin, Vicar General of the diocese. Greetings were also brought on that occasion by Dr. De Lorenzi, President of Casa Cardinal Piazza.

Roman Catholic participants in this meeting also included: Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap., Convento Cappuccini, Milano (Italy); Rev. John Haughey, SJ, St. Peter's Church, Charlotte, North Carolina (USA); Sister Helen Rolfson, OSF, St. John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota (USA); Rev. John Redford, London (England) and Mgr. John A. Radano, Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, (Vatican City) who is Catholic Co-Secretary.

On the Pentecostal side official delegates sent to the dialogue were:Rev. Mitchell Belobaba, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, Vancouver, B.C. (Canada); Rev. Hugh R. Edwards, Church of God of Prophecy, Artesia, California (USA); Dr. James D. Jenkins, Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee (USA); Dr. Robert Mueller, Independent Assemblies of God International, San Diego, California (USA).

Other delegates attending were: Dr. Cecil M. Robeck, Assemblies of God, Pasadena, California (USA) who is Treasurer for the Pentecostal side; Dr. Del Tarr, Assemblies of God, Fresno, California (USA); Rev. Bernice Gerard, Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, Vancouver, B.C. (Canada); Rev. H.N. van Amerom, President, Broederschap van Pinkstergemeenten in Nederland en Belgie, Nieuwegein (The Netherlands); Dr. Jerry L. Sandidge, Assemblies of God, Virginia Beach.. Virginia (USA) who is Co-Secretary for the Pentecostal side.

The next session wilI be in August, 1988 on the theme of koinonia and baptism.


[Information Service 64 (1987/II) 68]