The final full day of our Russell Berrie Fellowship Orientation program began with a trip to the Centro Pro Unione, the historic library and ecumenical center that sits above the Piazza Navona. Director Fr. James Puglisi, who also serves as director of the ecumenical section at the Angelicum and Minister General of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, lead a presentation on the academic responsibilities and processes of the section in addition to an introduction to the Centro.
This was followed by a roundtable discussion on Dignitatis Humane with our previous guests Thomas Casey, SJ and Miguel Ayuso Guixot, MCCJ and introducing Maltese Dominican Joseph Ellul, who is an expert on Islamic thought and its encounter with eastern Christianity. The rest of the day was spent in administrative issues and a group discussion around the praxis of interreligious dialogue, and a closing celebration of the Eucharist.
One of the interesting aspects of the week was the number of priests living in the house. Obviously, the Lay Centre only has one or two priests for Eucharist, whoever has been invited to preside. It is always a little strange to have as many concelebrants as other members of the assembly! This provided an interesting side discussion with one of my cohort, a presbyter. If a priest is celebrating the Eucharist, must he do so as presider or concelebrant, or may he do so as a member of the assembly – “in choir” in other words. And if so, does it “count” if the priest feels an obligation to celebrate mass daily?
There is clearly a movement that seems recent which indicates a priest should vest and actively concelebrate every time he is at mass. At the same time, one need look no further than papal liturgies at St. Peters to see that often, most priests and bishops are attending in choir only, not concelebrating. As at home, it seems some are asked to concelebrate for certain occasions, but it should not be assumed – and it certainly does not necessitate a private mass to be celebrated later!
I know it is not about interreligious dialogue, but, thoughts, anyone?