VATICAN CITY — The more Catholics and Pentecostals understand each other and bear witness to Jesus’ call for his disciples to be one, the more effective they can be in sharing the Gospel, Pope Francis said.

Marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Commission for Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue July 12, the pope said that through dialogue and reflection commission members have built “bonds of friendship, solidarity and mutual understanding between Catholics and Pentecostals.”

“It is my hope that this important anniversary will strengthen these bonds and renew your zeal to proclaim, as missionary disciples, the joy of the Gospel in the ecclesial community and in society as a whole,” the pope said in his message.

“Bearing witness to the Lord’s prayer that all may be one,” he said, “you will be able to help our brothers and sisters experience in their hearts and lives the transforming power of God’s love, mercy and grace.”

Members of the dialogue commission were meeting in Rome July 8-14 to continue discussions on “lex orandi, lex credendi,” usually translated and explained as, “what the church prays is what the church believes.”

The co-chairs of the dialogue commission are the Rev. Cecil M. Robeck of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, Pennsylvania. The dialogue is staffed by the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity and by the Christian Unity Commission of the Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches of North America.