From the Pastor's Desk: Archives

January 17, 2016

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

This week, from January 18-25th, Catholic Christians celebrate the "Week of Prayer for Christian Unity." The purpose of this week is to remind us that Catholic Christians are called to ecumenism. This is the Church's commitment to the prayer of Jesus at the Last Supper, in which Jesus prayed "that they all may be one" (John 17:21).

At the Second Vatican Council, the Council decided that the realization of that unity in accordance with the prayer of Jesus was an ecumenical imperative. The Council further stated that "it is a recognized custom for Catholics to have frequent recourse to that prayer for the unity of the Church which the Savior Himself on the eve of His death so fervently appealed to His Father." "That they may all be one" (Decree on Ecumenism #8). The Council also said that such as the prescribed prayers "for unity," and during ecumenical gatherings, it is allowable, indeed desirable that Catholics should join in prayer with their separated brethren. Such prayers in common are certainly an effective means of obtaining the grace of unity, and they are a true expression of the ties which still bind Catholics to their separated brethren. "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Decree of Ecumenism, #8).

Against this background, the Catholic Church each year since 1966, through the Vatican Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, prepares in collaboration with the World Council of Churches (WCC) a theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The theme for the Week of Prayer for 2016 is: "Called to Proclaim the Mighty Acts of the Lord" (cf. 1 Peter 2:9).

Let's join with many other Christians to celebrate what God is doing through the many ecumenical agencies - local, regional, national and international. As we go through the week, we commit our special prayers "that all may be one... that the world may believe" (John 17:21).

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