The Necessity of Ecumenical Intercession 

An Interview with Romeo Fernando

In November we spoke with Romeo Fernando, the founder of the Community of the Good Shepherd in Vasai, India. The community came out of a prayer group of 1500 people, started 35 years ago. Although the community is all Roman Catholics, right at its inception the prayer group and community were introduced to a ministry of intercession through an American Protestant couple. This led to a long-term intercessory mission, involving many different Protestant along with Roman Catholic community members and clergy. Now the intercession ministry, under the name “International Intercessors for Church and Nation” has a powerful role in praying though the year for key issues in India, with a focused time in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

In India there is a history of mistrust between Roman Catholics and Protestants, so we asked Romeo what were the key things that made this ecumenical venture successful, particularly at the beginning. Romeo’s response was emphatic: friendship, friendship, friendship! Romeo explained that he had taken time to get to know, and be known by, key Protestant leaders, because in knowing one another, and knowing one another’s testimony, we see more clearly Christ in one another.

Secondly, he added that he had chosen not to take offense easily if people, through misunderstanding, said something negative about Catholics; many of the Protestants in India don’t know much about Catholics, and particularly that Catholics also love the Bible!

So, is there fruit from this ecumenical intercession ministry? There is much! First of all, there is the fruit that comes from targeted intercessory prayer, that Romeo insists was more powerful because it was being prayed by Protestants and Catholics together in unity. Secondly, this intercession has given a door for not just community members, but also priests and others, to get to know Protestants, and become firm friends in Christ, because they realize in this that we are all one in Christ.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2024

January 18-25, 2024

You shall love the Lord your God … 
and your neighbor as yourself

Luke 10:27


This interview with Romeo Fernando was conducted by the Sword of the Spirit Ecumenical Commission.

Top image credit: Abstract colourful illustration of Christian cross with diverse hands raised in prayer together, from, © by abstract412, stock photo ID: 384517574. Used with permission.

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