Father Johan Lindén, St. Thomas Aquina's Church and parish in Lund.
Member of the Order of Preachers and head of the parish since 2010 and a former National Youth Chaplain to the Catholic Diocese of Stockholm, Johan Lindén converted from the Lutheran faith to the Catholic faith at the age of 18.
How are the Catholics in Lund preparing for the Joint Commemoration on October 31?
- Most Catholics here will watch the prayer service that is taking place in the Cathedral of Lund on national television and will be attending the Mass celebrated by the Pope in Malmö on November 1.
- I’m one out of two national Catholic coordinators. On October 31 we will probably work behind the scenes. We are preparing as best as we can. From the parish, some of our altar servants and people from our choir will participate at the service in the Cathedral.
What does this historic occasion mean to you personally?
- Once the news broke that the Pope was coming my sentiment was one of joy. The Joint Commemoration will offer an opportunity to grow in the understanding of the reformation, to understand what happened then and what the consequences are today. We share a common heritage and history.
- It is also mutual opportunity to repent, to convert ourselves and ask for forgiveness. The mutual and clear exchange of forgiveness is what the whole event implies and signals. What we have seen in the past few years is that Pope Francis is putting a lot of effort into the ecumenical dialogue with other Christian churches and denominations. The strive for unity is very apparent in his Pontificate. This is close to Pope Francis heart.
What impact do you hope the event will have on relations between Catholics and Lutherans at the local level?
- Unity and ecumenism is hard work. As Catholics, we function in long time spans. The hope is that future generations can reap what we have sowed and that we will see renewed initiatives, a deeper understanding and more respect for the differences in our traditions.
- On the local level in Lund, the plan is to twice a month celebrate vespers together, that will alternate between the Cathedral and our parish church.