FALL RIVER — A special ecumenical worship service to mark the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, November 5, at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River. All are invited to attend. The cathedral is located at 327 Second Street.
The Most Reverend Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Fall River, will preside at the service and Reverend James Hazelwood, Bishop of the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, will preach.
A committee of representatives of Catholic, Lutheran and other Christian denominations is planning the worship service. Father Edward J. Healey, who is Ecumenical Officer for the Fall River Diocese and its representative on the committee, pointed out that the prayer service will at the same time both mark history and make history.
“As we mark this significant anniversary of this pivotal moment in the history of Western Christianity, we will also be making history as this 5th centenary observance is taking place in the context of 50 years of ecumenical dialogue and cooperation,” he said.
“Protestants and Catholics can now gather in prayer together not only to remember the origins of their divisions but most especially to celebrate their ongoing progress along the path toward greater unity over the past five decades.”
An invitation has been extended to clergy from Catholic and Protestant faith communities to participate in the ecumenical service along with members of their congregations and members of their music ministries, who will join together to form one unified choir to lead music for the service.
Reverend Hazelwood became Bishop of the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 2012; Bishop da Cunha has led the Fall River Diocese since 2014.
On behalf of the planning committee, Father Healey encourages all to join Christians from throughout southeastern Massachusetts, both Protestant and Catholic, for the service, which he prays “will not only be historic but also healing.”
The beginning of the Reformation is generally dated from the publication of certain theses by Martin Luther in Germany on October 31, 1517.