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Catholic Mass celebrated in Swedish cathedral for first time in 500 years

Lund Cathedral (Wikimedia Commons)

Catholic Mass will be celebrated in the mediaeval cathedral in the Swedish city of Lund for the first time since the Reformation.

The Lutheran Church of Sweden has offered the cathedral as a temporary place of worship to the Catholic parish of St Thomas, whose church will be closed for major renovation from this autumn until next spring. The first weekly Mass will be held on October 21.

Pope Francis visited the southern Swedish city in October 2016 for a joint Catholic-Lutheran commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. He and Lutheran leaders prayed together at the cathedral and pledged closer spiritual and practical cooperation in their “common journey of reconciliation”. Since then the two communities have held joint Vespers in each other’s churches.

The Rev Lena Sjöstrand, chaplain of the cathedral, said the papal visit to Lund and the nearby city of Malmö “touched so many people”. Through these continuing celebrations, she said, people see that the visit was not just “a one-off event”, but rather a concrete way of strengthening relations between the two Christian communities.

The sharing of services, and now the sharing of the cathedral for Mass, reflect the spirit of the joint 2013 document “From Conflict to Communion”, which focused on the outcome of fifty years of dialogue since the Second Vatican Council.