A Covenant Between the Episcopal Diocese Of Minnesota and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
Feast of St. Michael and All Angels
Cathedral Church of St. Mark
September 29, 1996
Historical Context of the Covenant
This Covenant between our two communions is part of an ongoing tradition of ecumenical dialogue and of reconciliation through the grace of the Holy Spirit. We share a deep bond in both our histories and catholic practice while acknowledging those differences that keep us from sharing the Eucharist.
Since the closing of the Second Vatican Council in 1965, the Anglican (Episcopal) and Roman Catholic Communions have been in constant dialogue. The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission has published a number of documents vital to our common life and union. These theological studies, along with the discussions that led to them and which flow from them are bringing a growing agreement in faith and support our pilgrimage toward full church unity, which is Christ’s will. Among the important moments of this journey are the historical meetings of Pope Paul VI and John Paul II with four Archbishops of Canterbury. The two visits with the highest profile have been those of Archbishop Michael Ramsey and Pope Paul VI in 1966, and Pope John Paul II with Archbishop Robert Runcie in 1982. In addition to these visits there was the time for prayer, dialogue, and exchange of gifts in May 1992 between Pope John Paul II and George Leonard Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury.
As the journey toward unity becomes a deeper part of our common tradition, we enter with hope and charity into this covenant between the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota and the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. We pray that Christ Jesus will bring us into that final union which He alone can give.
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
With gratitude to God, we publicly proclaim our faith in the Holy Trinity and our belief in the will of the Lord Jesus Christ who prayed for us and for all who are His Church, “that all may be one.” Baptized into the mystery of God’s holy life, uplifted by the sacraments of the Church, fed by the Eucharist in our worship, we, Archbishop Harry J. Flynn and Bishop James L. Jelinek, in the name of our churches do solemnly enter into this covenant.
We affirm our common beliefs …
- That the unity of the Church is God’s will; it is a gift of the Holy Spirit that manifests the mystery of the Triune God, and one we seek to bring into rightful expression in our communions.
- That Christ Jesus, Saviour of the World, is present to us in the Church through the sacraments and that they make present His victory over sin and death.
- That Christ draws all to himself from every nation and tongue, every race and people.
- That our hearts and minds will continue to be nourished by the Word of God in Scripture and the action of the Holy Spirit in the Church.
- That the diversity of gifts and graces in the Anglican and Roman Catholic communions will enrich the celebrations we share and the dialogues we pursue.
- That with the grace of the Holy Spirit, we will be enabled to overcome the separations which keep us apart.
We commit ourselves …
- To pray for each other and to ask the faithful of our communions to pray for one another.
- To ask God’s forgiveness for our sinfulness in fostering the division of the Church.
- To seek to remove any obstacle to union while maintaining the traditions of our communions.
- To pray for unity in the Church, with the special intention that we will both share the Eucharistic Communion at the same altar.
- To pray together for peace, justice, dignity and solidarity for our society and for the resolution of hostilities in other parts of the world.
- To pray for the leadership of the Church; for wisdom and prudence in response to the needs in our dioceses, the nation and world.
- To support those who live an Anglican-Roman Catholic covenant in their families.
- To collaborate in planning liturgical, educational, and social programs and sharing physical and human resources whenever possible. to seek unity in teaching the Christian moral life.
- To support the proclamation, the living out and the renewal of this covenant every year.
- Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to him from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20, 21
The Right Reverend James L. Jelinek
Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota
The Most Reverend Harry Flynn
Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis