It is absolutely clear that ecumenism, the movement providing Christian unity, is not just some sort of "appendix" which is added to the Church's traditional activity. Rather ecumenism is an organic part of her life and work, and consequently must pervade all that she is and does.
Pope John Paul II (Ut Unum Sint, 20)
The Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs Commission
This commission is made up of members appointed by the Bishop and is consultative to him. The Commission is comprised of priests, religious and lay women and men. In addition representatives from various faith traditions in Virginia also serve on the Commission plus at-large-members. The Bishop has appointed Rev. Timothy Kuhneman, Vicar for Clergy, as the Ecumenical Affairs Officer and Chair for the Commission.
The Work of the Commission
The Commission has several primary goals:
Creating a network of PERs - Each parish has a designated PER who is responsible for fostering ecumenical activities at the parish level. In-services for the PER's are held twice a year in regional areas of the Diocese.
Promoting the LARCUM Covenant - The Commission does this primarily by fostering interest and participation in the annual State LARCUM Conference.
Promoting Partnerships within the Parish - The Commission encourages and assists the various parish ministries to be in dialogue with the PER's so that parishes will have an ecumenical vision and practice. In-services for promoting collaboration and partnerships among the ministries and the PER's have been held (Catechetical, Justice and Peace, RCIA, Young Adult and Youth leaders in Addition to the Pastoral Councils).