Melo to staff position at Vatican
By Michelle Larose-Kuzenko
ST. BONIFACE — Rev. Luis M. Melo, SM, director of the Office of
Ecumenical and Inter-religious Affairs for the Archdiocese of Saint Boniface,
has been appointed to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian
Unity at the Vatican. The news was formally announced by its president,
Cardinal Kurt Koch, on Oct. 1. Melo will be in residence in Rome.
Melo will be representing the Catholic Church at the World Council of Churches in Switzerland and the Global Christian Forum. He will co-ordinate an international dialogue, the Joint Working Group, in which he participated for the past seven years, and serve as contact person for ecumenical relations with Bossey Ecumenical Institute (University of Geneva), several student movements, the Unions of Superiors General and a number of conferences of bishops in anglophone and francophone Africa.
“I am happy to have been called to this responsibility and look forward to contributing to the ongoing work of rapprochement of Christians with a great team. Although this is a new responsibility, there is a real sense of continuity with my current responsibilities in St. Boniface,” said Melo.
“The only response that could be given to this invitation was ‘yes,’ especially given my formal training and ministerial experiences over the years, locally, nationally and internationally.”
Melo holds a doctorate in ecumenical theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome and has lectured at St. Paul’s College, University of Manitoba. Through the Office of Ecumenism and Inter-religious Affairs for the Archdiocese of St. Boniface, that he was asked to establish in 2002, Melo has provided much leadership to local efforts in the promoting of Christian Unity in Winnipeg.
“This continuity is also evident in the fact I will have many opportunities for contact and collaboration not only with students and universities, but also with networks of institutes of consecrated life. As a member of the Society of Mary (Marianists) I have ministered in a university setting, both as a chaplain and lecturer since 1994.”
Melo anticipates there will be much to learn in this challenging position and he will have to quickly become acquainted with processes of decision-making at the Vatican, the World Council of Churches, and the Global Christian Forum, which makes contact possible between the mainline Christian traditions, new churches and many Pentecostal and Evangelicals.
He adds, “This ministry is challenging and not possible without the theological virtues of faith, hope and love. These are gifts of the Holy Spirit, otherwise our unity would be merely a human-centred activity. We depend on strength beyond ourselves in this work, a strength rooted in the very life of God.”
Melo shares his conviction that God shows us the way, which is ultimately the way of Jesus Christ, of walking together as disciples in faith in his name, in the power and strength of the Holy Spirit. He describes our unity as a journey toward one household of Christ with diverse traditions and a place for everyone to live and serve, celebrating and sharing in fidelity to what we have received through the ages: the Word of God, alive in his holy people for the life of the world. He adds “Our goal is visible unity in the one faith, sacramental life and ministry.”
In a recent communiqué to the faithful, Archbishop Albert LeGatt congratulated Melo and assured him of his support as he begins this ministry in the promotion of Christian Unity with the Vatican.