The Basilica of St. Mary in Livonia, Michigan was blessed in the month of February 2011 to have several world renowned influential Christian leaders visit its community. Over the course of two weeks, the parish hosted Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, a world-renowned Orthodox bishop and theologian from Cambridge, England, Bishop Augustin Ahimana, an Anglican bishop from Rwanda, and Fr. Paolo Dall’Oglia, a Catholic priest from Syria.
The first event took place on February 18th, 2011. Fr. George Shalhoub hosted a lecture luncheon for world renowned scholar, professor, and contemporary Eastern Orthodox academic author, Metropolitan Kallistos Ware during his visit to the Detroit area. Joining Metropolitan Kallistos was Metropolitan Nicholas of the Greek Diocese of Detroit, and Bishop Irineu, Auxiliary Bishop of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, along with close to fifty clergy from various Orthodox jurisdictions from throughout Michigan and the entire Midwest. Metropolitan Kallistos spoke to the clergy about the necessity of Orthodox Christian unity and cooperation here in America, and on diversity in general, and how we as Christian leaders in America, need to recognize not only the diverse nature of our country regarding the Christian faith, but we need to work towards creating ways to help open the doors of communication between all Christians. In addition to visiting the Basilica, Metropolitan Kallistos visited several other Orthodox churches in the Detroit area and addressed the body of Sacred Heart Catholic Major Seminary, on the topic of current and future Orthodox/Catholic dialogue.
On the evening of February 26th, 2011, the Basilica hosted Christian ministers from different jurisdictional churches throughout the city of Livonia to hear from Anglican Bishop Augustin Ahimana, from Rwanda, who spoke about the vital need for all Christians throughout the world to work together in unity for the glory of God, and the importance of coming together as Christians in order to serve our fellow man.
On the very next day, Sunday, February 27th, the Basilica hosted Fr. Paolo Dall’Oglia, S.J., the founder of Deir Mar Musa, which is a Catholic monastery in Syria dedicated to Christian-Muslim peace and understanding. Fr. Paolo spoke on the gospel of the last judgment (Matt. 25:31-46), and about our need as Christians to recognize God’s true presence in the world, and how we are all called to truly see God in those around us. Fr. Paolo was also a guest of the Syrian Consul General at the Birmingham Cultural Center, where he spoke on the topic of Christian/Muslim dialogue.
The Basilica was honored to host these influential Christian leaders, and ask that God continue to guide their work as they help to educate the world about the need for Christian unity and how Christians can lead the way in seeking peace in a diversified world.