Spirituality and Discipleship:
Catholics and Mennonites Bridging the Divide
St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota
July 29 – August 1, 2004
“Love one another as I have loved you,” said the parting Christ to his disciples. Vibrant Christian lives and vital Christian communities are always marked by the unity of love for God and love for neighbor. Yet too often Christians have split off the spirituality by which they seek to know God from the discipleship by which they seek to love others in Christ-like ways. For the Mennonites and Roman Catholics who gather together as Bridgefolk, the “bridge” for which they work and pray is above all the joining of spirituality and discipleship.
For many, the great strength of the Roman Catholic tradition lies in its ancient spiritual practices, while the great strength of the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition lies in its persistent practices of discipleship. The 2004 Bridgefolk conference will focus on the possibilities and challenges of living on the bridge between these traditions. How does praying the Psalms and praying in song help form lives of discipleship? How must married couples as well as single people “count the cost” to family life that comes when they bridge the Mennonite and Catholic traditions? What can we learn about following Christ through work and ministry from activists who have discovered their need for contemplation, and from contemplatives who have found themselves called into action? We will explore these questions through panel presentations and discussion as we gather for prayer, song, and mutual encouragement.