In a historical gathering on Aug. 10, representatives of the Alliance of Presbyterian and Reformed Churches of Latin America (AIPRAL) and the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church met for the first time in the headquarters of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Guatemala, with the expressed purpose of strengthening the ecumenical bonds between both bodies.

“We have visited the Catholic Bishops Conference of Guatemala and we were received by Monsignor Rodolfo Valenzuela, Secretary for Ecumenism, and Monsignor Oscar Julio Vián Morales, who we encouraged to continue working in unity with the Protestant churches in this country,” said the Rev. Germán Zijlstra, executive secretary of AIPRAL.

Zijlstra was accompanied by a delegation from the Executive Committee of AIPRAL, as well as by the Rev. Setri Nyomi, general secretary of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC). The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is a member of WCRC.    

The Guatemalan Catholic bishops expressed their pleasure with the ecumenical gesture by the AIPRAL delegation, and shared their experiences at the national, regional and world level with regard to religious and ecumenical dialogue, in addition to affirming that they will continue along the path of further strengthening these opportunities for meeting and coordination that in Guatemala have been channeled through the Christian Ecumenical Council.  

Nyomi gave his greeting to the Catholic bishops and shared with them the experiences that there have been at the level that he represents with the Pope and other Vatican officials, as part of the ecumenical dialogue that needs to continue being strengthened in each country where there is a presence of so many different Christian denominations.   

In an act of prayer and ecumenism, the Catholic bishops and the AIPRAL delegation joined hands and prayed the Lord’s Prayer out loud together.