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Local Catholics and Lutherans commemorate 500th anniversary of the Reformation

Lara Hamdan
St. Louis Public Radio
Deacon Carl Sommer (left) and Pastor Keith Holste (right) discuss Lutheran-Catholic joint commeration events for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation

Catholics and Lutherans are coming together in the spirit of reconciliation for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, a schism from the Roman Catholic Church initiated by Martin Luther in 1517.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Deacon Carl Sommer, adjunct professor of church history, registrar, and coordinator of assessment at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary and Pastor Keith Holste, co-pastor of Christ Lutheran Church in Webster Groves and co-director of the Lutheran School of Theology.

There will be Lutheran-Catholic joint commemoration events for the 500th anniversary. Holste said planning for these events began 18 months ago, when the ecumenical office of the Archdiocese asked to participate in the anniversary.

“We thought it was a very generous way to begin, since, in the sense it’s the Lutheran Reformation, yet the call came from the Catholic office,” Holste said.

Sommer said events in Ferguson in 2014 and other events in the region illustrate the divisions in the community.

“The first step in that refreshing of our community would be for us to get our own house in order and increase the unity of Lutherans and Catholics in the St. Louis area,” Sommer said.

In addition to the service on Sunday, Holste said the inter-faith relationship will continue.

“We don’t want it to stop there,” Holste said. “We’ll keep the dialogues, getting to know the people across the street."

Sommer said he would like to see increased cooperation between the two denominations in matters of social justice, community relations and charitable works. Holste said there are joint efforts to raise money to build a house through Habitat for Humanity.

“We hope to be able to work on that side by side, Lutherans and Catholics,” Holste said. “Often you can talk about things when you’re not on the topic and kind of get to know one another better.”

Related Events

What: Lutheran-Catholic Joint Commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation Ecumenical Prayer Service
When:  7 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 29

Where: Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, 4431 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis

More information

What: Lutheran-Catholic Joint Commemoration Panel Discussion
When: 9:30 a.m., Monday, Oct. 30
Where: Aquinas Institute of Theology, 23 S. Spring Ave., St. Louis

RSVP - (314) 792-7177 or jamescomninellis@archstl.org

More information

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region. 

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Lara is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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