Pope Francis met with an ecumenical scholarship organization on the morning of Jan. 11, thanking them for their dedication to the work of Christian unity. “I express my deep gratitude to all the benefactors who have supported and (continue to) support the committee,” he told members of the Catholic Committee for Cultural Collaboration.
“Without your valued contribution this work would not be possible. Therefore, I encourage you to continue in the action that you perform.”
The committee, begun by Paul VI in 1963, is meeting to mark the occasion of their 50th anniversary. The organization is dedicated to helping students from the Orthodox Churches of the Byzantine tradition and the Oriental Orthodox Churches by a student exchange and scholarship program.
“The Second Vatican Council had not yet concluded when Paul VI instituted the Catholic Committee for Cultural Collaboration,” Pope Francis noted. “The path of reconciliation and renewed fraternity between the Churches, wonderfully marked by the first historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras, required the experience of friendship and sharing that arises from the mutual understanding between members of different Churches, and in particular the young people initiated into sacred ministry.”