Let there be hope

The 2nd edition of the Ecumenical Day of the Churches

A 720-page program with over 3000 events: it’s the second edition of the Ecumenical Day of the Churches (Ökt), due to be held in Munich May 12-16. 60 commissions representing ecclesial associations and institutions charged with project development are organizing the events. The wide range of events nears those offered in the first ecumenical encounter held in Berlin in 2003 but with different emphases, underlining the Christians’ responsibility in the shaping of society and of the world. Follow the most prominent aspects of the initiative, due to be attended by 100,000 registered participants, along with occasional visitors. “As long as there is hope”. This is the motto of the ecumenical initiative in Munich consisting of 3000 events. The Ecumenical Day of the Churches will focus upon: globalization and the economy; the social order in Germany; peace, and dialogue with the sciences. Participants will also discuss the theme of being Christians in a pluralist society, marked by the need for inter-religious dialogue and with increasing numbers of ideologies. An ecumenical celebration will open and conclude the meeting in Munich, respectively on the afternoon of May 12 and the morning of May 16. It will be attended by numerous personalities from the political, social and economic world.Not only ecumenism. Along with questions regarding concrete ecumenism, which play an important role in the event in Munich, greater than the presence of distinguished personalities in this field, and more that the discussions on delicate issues, the program of events devotes special attention to the “symbolic common table”, in which thousands of Christians from all denominations will jointly break the bread seated around 1000 tables. A special homage will be paid to the Greek-Orthodox community of the Bavarian capital, which counts 25.000 Orthodox faithful. In addition to opening and closing ecumenical ceremonies, the program envisages a feast of the peoples, an ecumenical celebration for the solemnity of the Ascension, a vigil animated by the Taizé community and a night devoted to religions in the world. Dialogue with science. Also in due homage to the many research institutions and universities in Munich, this edition of the ‘Ökt offers a series of events devoted to science, like the “Long night of science”, dedicated to research on the brain, to genetic technology and astronomy. The program includes the homage to the memorials near Munich. The memorial of the concentration camp of Dachau will stage an event dedicated to resistance and reconciliation, with a Via Crucis in memory of the victims of the lager. Abuses. The Ecumenical Day of the Churches devotes ample space also to the theme of sexual abuses, which have gained centre-stage attention for months in Germany and abroad. For this purpose, Christine Bergmann, recently appointed Responsible for abuse cases by the Federal Government, will attend a round table on the subject with father Klaus Mertens, the dean of the Canisius College in Berlin, who was the first to reveal abuses in Germany, along with Msgr. Stephan Ackermann, appointed representative for sexual abuses by the German Bishops’ Conference. Events with active participation. In addition to the forums and the round tables, the organizers planned a series of initiatives that envisage the direct participation of the visitors. Some of these events were launched in the past months, like a poetry competition launched in January the authors that submitted their works will read them out during the “Night of Poetry”. The youth is expected to convene in the Olympic Village in Munich, that will stage eight ‘mini-villages’, each with its own motto on themes that range from the cultural to the economic realm, to education, faith, and spirituality.

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