Catholics and “Disciples of Christ”: New phase of dialogue

4 Jul 2022

The first plenary session of the new phase of international dialogue between Catholic and Disciples of Christ took place at the Saint Anne Retreat Center, Melbourne, Kentucky, USA, from 24‒29 June.

As outlined in the press release, the general theme of the sixth phase is “The Ministry of the Holy Spirit” (2 Cor 3). The Commission focused on “The Holy Spirit in the Life and Ministry of the Church”. The programme included a lectio divina on Acts 2; an overview of the dialogue reports; a biblical study on 2 Cor 3; and two presentations on “The Disciples of Christ, the Holy Spirit, and Ministry” and, on the Catholic part, on “The Ministry of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 3): Laying Foundations”.

The Commission also made a study visit to the site of the Cane Ridge Meeting House in Kentucky, site of the “Communion Revival” of 1801, a determining event in the history of the “Disciples of Christ”. It also took part in the Holy Meal in the Christian Church in Lexington, founded at the beginning of the movement, meeting with various local representatives of the Catholic Church and the Disciples.

The current phase is co‒presided by Bishop David L. Ricken, Diocese of Green Bay, WI, USA, and Reverend Dr Robert Welsh, Indianapolis, IN, USA; assisted by Reverend Paul Tché, Secretary General of the Disciples Ecumenical Consultative Council (DECC), Indianapolis, IN, USA, and Monsignor Juan Usma Gómez, Head of the Western Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity (DPCU), Vatican/Colombia, Co‒Secretaries.

The International Dialogue Commission Between the Disciples of Christ and the Catholic Church, established in 1977, aims at the full and visible unity in a common Eucharistic celebration. The members are appointed by the DPCU and the DECC. To date, the Commission has published five dialogue reports: Report (1981);  The Church as Communion in Christ (1992); Receiving and Handing on the Faith: The Mission and Responsibility of the Church (2002); The Presence of Christ in the Church with Special Reference to the Eucharist (2009); Do This in Memory of Me: Christians Formed and Transformed by the Eucharist (2020).


1. Central Christian Church (Lexington, Kentucky), Disciples of Christ. 2. St Anne Retreat Center (Melbourne, Kentucky), Catholic Church. 3. Grave of Barton W. Stone, one of the Disciples founding fathers, Kentucky. 4. Shrine of Cane Ridge, place of the "Communion Revival" of 1801. 5.  Final Service led by Co-Chairs, St Anne Retreat Center.