Wednesday 8 July 2015
Australia’s Christian music sweetheart, Darlene Zschech joined Pope Francis and 30,000 people at the Vatican over the weekend for an ecumenical concert and prayer meeting for the persecuted church.
The event was organised by ‘Renewal of the Holy Spirit,’ a charismatic group within the Catholic Church that emphasises the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus and the expression of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Among the attendees at the event were Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Anglicans, Lutherans and Pentecostals, including Australia’s Darlene Zschech who is a senior pastor of Hope Unlimited Church on the Central Coast of NSW.
Zschech, best known as a Pentecostal singer and songwriter, led worship at the event with renowned Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and Israeli singer Noa. The three sang Amazing Grace, sharing the stage with Pope Francis.
The theme of the event was “Ways of unity and of peace. Voices of prayer for the martyrs of today and for a spiritual ecumenism”.
“The blood of the martyrs makes us one,” said Pope Francis as he called upon the universal Church to unite in prayer for persecuted Christians.
The Pope pointed to the Egyptian Coptic Christians killed by Islamic State on a beach in Libya earlier this year, suggesting it didn’t matter that they were not Catholic, because as they died they said the name of Jesus. He also pointed to Nazi Germany, where a Catholic Priest and a Lutheran pastor were killed within minutes of each other for teaching Christ to children.
“And the blood of both was mixed. Both martyrs, both martyrs,” said the Pope. “If the enemy unites us in death, who are we to divide us in life?”
We all have the same spirit, said Pope Francis. Therefore, we must pray together, and “work with other Christians to [support] the poor and needy.”
Darlene Zschech said on Facebook that she was honoured to be part of a “celebration of unity and peace in the renewal of the Holy Spirit. Amazing days for the body of Christ.”
You can watch the performance of Amazing Grace, here: