Intercessory Prayer and the Communion of Saints: Mennonite and Catholic Perspectives

Book, 2022, 240 pp
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"This miracle will be one of the bridges between Roman Catholics and Mennonites in an ecumenical point of view," said Pope John Paul II in 2003 on the occasion of the canonization of Joseph Freinademetz, S.V.D. He was speaking of the miraculous healing of Jun Yamada, son of a Japanese Mennonite pastor, through the joint intercessions of Catholics and Mennonites united by faith in Jesus and love of God. That miracle, as John Paul predicted, has inspired ongoing ecumenical friendships, dialogues, and engagements between Mennonite and Catholics, leading to this volume.

Moved by this healing story, Bridgefolk, a Mennonite-Catholic ecumenical movement in North America, centered its annual conference in 2015 on that story. Following that conference, the Mennonite Catholic Theological Colloquium convened in 2016 to consider the Christian practice of intercessory prayer and doctrine of the communion of saints from the perspectives of both traditions.

This volume collects the presentations from those two events, including the personal and theological reflections of Nozomu Yamada, brother of Jun, and Alfonso Fausone, S.V.D., who initiated the intercessions for Jun.

"Memory and hope meet mystery and faith in this collection of essays. One family's story of people praying and God healing inspires rich reflections about what it means to belong to God's family, a communion of saints spanning space and time. Conveying helpful historical, theological, and liturgical context about how Mennonites and Catholics approach praying with and/or praying for others, this book will serve theologians, ecumenists, and faith leaders." -Anne McGowan, Assistant Professor of Liturgy, Catholic Theological Union

"This book not only tells the story of a miraculous healing, but of a network of relationships that bears witness to transformation, reconciliation, and movement toward the very centre of faith. First there is an astonishing experience of prayer and the communion of saints. Then Catholics and Mennonites together reflect, discuss, and deepen their understanding of prayer and the communion of saints. This is an instructive and inspiring pattern of doing theology in service of the church." -Jeremy M. Bergen, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Theological Studies, Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo

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