Richard Thomas, moderator of Mennonite Church USA, and Ervin Stutzman, executive director of Mennonite Church USA, sent the following letter to Pope Francis on March 21. César García, general secretary of Mennonite World Conference, also wrote to the Vatican (see link below). Mennonite World Conference sent two representatives to the March 19 service of installation for the new pope.
March 21, 2013
His Holiness, Pope Francis I
The Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City State
On behalf of Mennonite Church USA, we offer heartfelt blessings to you in the new ministry to which you have been called. We are grateful for your choice of a name that reminds us of Francis of Assisi, a follower of Jesus who loved peace, cared for the poor, and cherished creation. We are heartened by your choice to live humbly and simply and by your desire to reach across boundaries to people of faith in many traditions. Most of all, we appreciate your profound commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In the years ahead we hope that relationships between Roman Catholics and Mennonites will continue to be strengthened. We commit ourselves to pray for you and for our Roman Catholic sisters and brothers.
May you be blessed with abundant wisdom to guide the church, with strength to persevere even in daunting and difficult times, and with a loving shepherd’s heart as you represent the church in the world. May God grant you a long and joyous ministry!
Yours in Christ,
Richard Thomas, moderator, Mennonite Church USA
Ervin Stutzman, executive director, Mennonite Church USA
cc: Secretariat of State, the Vatican
Fr. John Crossin, OSFS, USCCB Secretariat of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs
The original letter is available here: MennoniteChurchUSA_to_PopeFrancis_2013Mar21.
A letter from César García, general secretary of Mennonite World Conference, to the Most Rev. Brian Farrell, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, can be found at http://mwc-cmm.org/article/interchurch-dialogue.
Update: Cardinal Kurt Koch sent a response to the above letter on May 2, 2013.