Intercessory Prayer and the Communion of Saints: Mennonite and Catholic Perspectives, Edited by Darrin W. Snyder Belousek and Margaret R. Pfeil
2022. 260 pp. ISBN: 978-1926599786
“This miracle will be one of the bridges between Roman Catholics and Mennonites in an ecumenical point of view,” said Pope John Paul II in 2003 on the occasion of the canonization of Joseph Freinademetz, S.V.D. He was speaking of the miraculous healing of Jun Yamada, son of a Japanese Mennonite pastor, through the joint intercessions of Catholics and Mennonites united by faith in Jesus and love of God. That miracle, as John Paul predicted, has inspired ongoing ecumenical friendships, dialogues, and engagements between Mennonite and Catholics, leading to this volume. Moved by this healing story, Bridgefolk, a Mennonite-Catholic ecumenical movement in North America, centered its annual conference in 2015 on that story. Following that conference, the Mennonite Catholic Theological Colloquium convened in 2016 to consider the Christian practice of intercessory prayer and doctrine of the communion of saints from the perspectives of both traditions. This volume collects the presentations from those two events, including the personal and theological reflections of Nozomu Yamada, brother of Jun, and Alfonso Fausone, S.V.D., who initiated the intercessions for Jun.
Praise for Intercessory Prayer and the Communion of Saints
"A miracle in the late 1980s: the healing of Jun Yamada, a young Japanese Mennonite then close to death, occasioned this extraordinary volume. Both Mennonites and Catholics had offered prayers of intercession for Yamada, Catholics including a novena of prayers to Blessed Josef Freinademetz SVD (1852-1908). The Vatican study acknowledged that the miracle had taken place, leading Pope John Paul II to canonize St. Freinademetz in 2003. Yamada was present at the canonization. Readers will benefit greatly from presentations of two colloquia found here, the first describing events involved, the second exploring Catholic and Mennonite theologies of Intercessory prayer and the Communion of Saints."
—Msgr. John A. Radano, Head of the Western Section, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Vatican City (1986–2008); Co-Secretary, first phase of Mennonite-Catholic International Dialogue (1998–2003)
"This book not only tells the story of a miraculous healing, but of a network of relationships that bears witness to transformation, reconciliation, and movement toward the very centre of faith. First there is an astonishing experience of prayer and the communion of saints. Then Catholics and Mennonites together reflect, discuss, and deepen their understanding of prayer and the communion of saints. This is an instructive and inspiring pattern of doing theology in service of the church."
—Jeremy M. Bergen, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Theological Studies, Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo
"In a culture where the “praying hands” emoji is nearly ubiquitous, this mind-blowing collection—narratives surrounding an amazing healing and carefully articulated theological reflection—is a must read, whether or not we have an established prayer practice. Here we are offered the fruit of decades of Mennonite-Roman Catholic conversation. And although the volume does not directly address this, Intercessory Prayer reminds Euro-American Anabaptist descendants of rich and faithful insights blossoming among siblings in Christ in other cultures."
—Nancy R. Heisey, Professor at Eastern Mennonite Seminary and Past-President of Mennonite World Conference
"This book constitutes an excellent contribution to what was once thought to be church-dividing and off limits: the communion of Saints and intercessory prayer. While written as part of Mennonite-Catholic dialogue, and not least, stemming from the ecumenical conversations of Bridgefolk, this work is of benefit to all Christians. Clear articulations of both Mennonite and Catholic positions in dialogue add to the value of this book. I highly recommend it."
—Maxwell E. Johnson, Professor of Theology, The University of Notre Dame
About the Editors:
Darrin W. Snyder Belousek (PhD, University of Notre Dame) teaches philosophy and religion at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, and has taught at various church-related colleges. He has served the church through the Mennonite Mission Network and is the author of several books, including Atonement, Justice, and Peace and Good News: The Advent of Salvation in the Gospel of Luke.
Margaret R. Pfeil is assistant professor of moral theology at the University of Notre Dame and a Faculty Fellow of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. She specializes in Catholic social thought. She is also a cofounder and resident of St. Peter Claver Catholic Worker House in South Bend, Indiana, and is on the board of Bridgefolk, a movement of Mennonites and Roman Catholics who come together to celebrate each other's practices and honor each other's contributions to the mission of Christ's church.