On 5 June 2020 the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity celebrates the 60th anniversary of its foundation. On the day of Pentecost 5 June 1960, Saint John XXIII created the then Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity with the Motu proprio Superno dei Nutu. The establishment of the Secretariat marked the first official step of the Catholic Church in the ecumenical movement.
As stated in the recent letter of the Holy Father to Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the anniversary will be marked by two initiatives. The first is the Ecumenical Vademecum for bishops, to be published in autumn, as an encouragement and guide for their ecumenical responsibilities. The second is the launch of the journal Acta Œcumenica, renewing the Dicastery’s bulletin Information Service/Service d’Information, which aims at providing a useful instrument to all those working in the service of unity.
To commemorate the anniversary, several articles prepared by the Officials of the Pontifical Council will be published in L’Osservatore Romano from 4 June.
For the occasion on Friday 5 June, Cardinal Koch will preside over a Mass of thanksgiving in the Chapel of Our Lady Mother of the Family situated in the Governorate of the Vatican.
For the history of the Pontifical Council’s beginnings, kindly consult the booklet “Unità dei cristiani: Dovere e speranza | Christian Unity: Duty and Hope”, which was published for the 50th anniversary.
Photo: Saint Pope John XXIII and the first staff of the Secretariat (from left to right): Monsignor Jean-François Arrighi, Cardinal Augustin Bea, Monsignor (later Cardinal) Johannes Willebrands, and Father Thomas Stransky.