Vatican II and Ecumenism

Vatican II and Ecumenism, a five-part series commemorating the 50th anniversary of the major documents and themes of Vatican Council II.  Next event, Part III:  Wednesday, October 22. 


Elizabeth Groppe Bio

Part III Agenda

Godfrey Diekmann, OSB Vatican

L-R John Eidenschink, OSB, Abbot Baldwin Dworschak, OSB,
Dr. James Kritzeck, Bishop Leo Dworschak, and Godfrey
Diekmann, OSB, in front of St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City.
Courtesy of Saint John's Abbey Archives 

The Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary series, "Vatican II and Ecumenism," commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of this epic event in the history of  The Church.

Sessions are designed to explore the ways in which ecumenism crosscuts all of the conciliar documents while highlighting the significance of the council in the present day and future.

In Pope Francis's recent reflections on the council's spirit and continued implementation; he states: "Vatican II, inspired by Pope Paul VI and John, decided to look to the future with a modern spirit and to be open to modern culture. The Council Fathers knew that being open to modern culture meant religious ecumenism and dialogue with non-believers."1

For the past century, Saint John's has maintained a significant theological voice in the American and worldwide church, and for the past half-century, it has embraced the work of the council in a variety of ways including liturgical reform, theological and pastoral renewal, and the work of ecumenism or dialogue with other Christian churches and movements. The fiftieth anniversary of the council thus offers an ideal occasion on which to continue that reflection and engagement with the world from Collegeville.

The Saint John's Vatican Council II and Ecumenism Series features lecture presentations by renowned theologians and church leaders who will unpack the ecumenical and theological significance of the council documents.

Vatican II and Ecumenism Series Topics:


December 4, 2013: Sacrosanctum Concilium


March 27, 2014: Lumen Gentium


Oct 22, 2014: Unitatis Redintegratio


March 18: Dei Verbum 

Fall: Gaudium et Spes

Each event will consist of the following sessions which can be attended in part or in whole:

The Vatican Coffee Bar, "Bar Jonah"
During the sessions of the council, held inside Saint Peter's Basilica, two coffee/espresso bars were constructed to offer refreshments and informal places for conversation among the council fathers, "Bar Jonah" and "Bar Abbas." The conference event will begin in the late afternoon with Bar Jonah events that will introduce general themes from Vatican Council II and specific ideas in the documents featured at that event. Facilitated by faculty members from Saint John's School of Theology-Seminary, Bar Jonah events will include images and accessible remarks that will further prepare listeners for the feature lecture of the day. It will offer extended time for questions and answers. In the spirit of Vatican City, Italy, biscotti and good coffee will be served!

Evening Prayer, The Liturgy of the Hours
Retaining the St. John's commitment to prayer in the monastic tradition, the Vatican Council II and Ecumenism Series offers participants the opportunity to pray as a community. Attendees are invited to join the monastic community in Evening Prayer in the Abbey Church. Doing so will allow participants to enter into the larger spirit of liturgy and prayer which animates Collegeville's commitment to the spirit of Vatican II.

Social Hour & Dinner
Following prayer, participants are invited to join the Saint John's community of faculty, students, alums, and friends in Benedictine hospitality. Good food and good conversation will give attendees opportunities for informal conversations with each other, cultivating a spirit of dialogue and engagement with each other. Registration is request for attending the dinner-social hour.

Keynote Speaker Address
The event will culminate in a keynote address by the day's featured speaker. While the lecture will focus on the particular council document for the event, it will also look to the way in which the document cultivates a spirit of ecumenism as well as dialogue with the other. 

1 Pope Francis, Interview, La Repubblica, September 30, 2013.

The second event of the series was held on March 27th.  Bishop Denis J. Madden, Bishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, gave the keynote address, "Lumen Gentium, Ecumenism, & The Pope Francis Factor."  
A video of the address, along with an introduction of Kristen Colberg, Ph.D., can be viewed online in its entirety here.