DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     November 15, 1999     vol. 10, no. 216

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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ST. BRIDGET OF SWEDEN BRINGS CATHOLICS AND LUTHERANS TOGETHER IN ROME

Largest Meeting in History between Rome and Scandinavian Lutheranism

        VATICAN CITY, NOV 14 (ZENIT).- On Friday, Nov. 12, Archbishop Crescenzio Sepe, Secretary of the Vatican Committee for the Preparation of the Great Jubilee, opened an international symposium on "Saint Bridget and the Holy Year," sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Two weeks after the signing of the Joint Declaration on Justification, the meeting, which is being held at the Pontifical Gregorian University, brings together Lutheran and Catholic speakers of the highest order.

        During the symposium, King Karl Gustav XVI, and Queen Sylvia of Sweden, and their daughter, Victoria, the Princess heiress, met in the Vatican with John Paul II on Saturday, Nov 13, at 11 a.m.. In the afternoon, the Pontiff presided at an ecumenical celebration of Vespers, in the company of the Swedish monarchs and the Primates of the Lutheran and Catholic Churches of Sweden and Finland.

        Following the religious service, which for the Scandinavian guests at the Vatican will be like an introduction to the Jubilee Year 2000, the Holy Father and the Swedish monarchs inaugurated the 5-meter high statue of Saint Bridget, which will be placed outside the Basilica, in Saint Martha's Square.

        St. Bridget, whom John Paul II proclaimed patroness of Europe, together with St. Catherine of Siena and St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), at the opening of the Synod of Bishops for Europe, has always been a point of reference for the unity of the Scandinavian Lutheran Church and the Catholic Church.

        These meetings in Rome are an attempt to reflect on the message transmitted by Bridget to the men and women of our time, especially in light of the Jubilee of the Year 2000. Indeed, the Scandinavian saint came to Rome in 1350 to participate in the second Jubilee in history.

        Bishop Mario Russotto, organizer of the international symposium and spiritual director of the Bridgettine Order, explained that this academic meeting hopes to make an historical analysis in order "to place Bridget in the history of her time and study her relation to the Jubilee of that period."

        Next on the agenda, is "an ecumenical moment. We shall try to understand the ecumenical dimension of Bridget's message and relate Bridget to Elisabetta Hesselblad, who re-founded the Bridgettine Order with an ecumenical dimension."

        Finally, the congress will analyze Bridget's message to contemporary women. The Catholic and Lutheran Archbishops and Bishops of Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway will attend the symposium, as will a group of 150 Poles among whom is Lech Walesa, founder of "Solidarnosc" and ex-president of Poland . ZE99111207


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November 15, 1999       volume 10, no. 216
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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