Editor’s note: Bishop James P. Powers’ letter was read at “From Conflict to Communion: Lutheran-Catholic Commemoration of the Reformation,” an ecumenical event held Sunday, Aug. 27, in Minong.

Aug. 27, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

Please know through this letter that you are in my thoughts as you celebrate an ecumenical service of unity in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. On Oct. 31, 1517, the Augustinian monk Martin Luther nailed his theological theses to the door of the parish church in Wittenberg, Germany. Thus began the story of the Protestant Reformation. It is interesting that last Oct. 31, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, visited the Lutheran Cathedral in Lund, Sweden, to commemorate this momentous event of 1517. How far Catholics and Lutherans have come in our understanding of one another and in our dialogue of faith. Your gathering in prayer today in Minong is a fruit of that discussion. While I am not able to be with you personally, know well that I am with you in spirit and prayer as you come together in unity and diversity.

Roman Catholics and Lutherans share so very much in faith. We both believe in justification through Christ. We both have a deep love and appreciation of Sacred Scripture. We both have an appreciation of theological thought and liturgical music. We both believe in our common baptismal call to service and mission. My hope is that this ecumenical service today will foster in northern Wisconsin a further understanding and respect of one another’s particular traditions and an appreciation of the many gifts we bring to our ongoing commitment to Christian unity. May God’s Holy Spirit continue to foster our unity and our call to serve Jesus, who is our Savior and strength.

Once again, please know of my support and prayer this day.

Sincerely yours in the Lord,

Most Rev. James P. Powers
Bishop of Superior