Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins today

Today the worldwide Church will begins a weeklong celebration calling for prayer and increased awareness of the need for Christian unity around the world.

Catholic News Agency reports that the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, organised jointly by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches, begins will be celebrated in many countries, including the US and Europe, between until next Wednesday.

However, in Australia, the Week is held around Pentecost, this year 28 May-4 June. The Australian observance is organised by the Faith and Unity Commission of the National Council of Churches in Australia.

This year's theme, inspired by the Gospel of Matthew, is: "Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them."

Organisers of the event have chosen an ecumenical group from Dublin, Ireland to prepare the texts which will be used for prayer and reflection.

According to the World Council of Churches, the Irish group was chosen, in part, because of the ongoing struggle between Catholics and Protestants which has wracked the northern part of that country with violence for decades.

Only now, they pointed out, is the process of peace and shared identity in Christ, slowly starting to take root.

The Vatican also announced the particular themes which will be explored on particular days throughout the week including, "United through the presence of Christ, 'One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism;'" "Building Christian unity with Jesus in our midst - daily ecumenism, 'You also ought to wash one another's feet;'" and "Praying together in Jesus' name, 'The Lord waits to be gracious to you.'"

Vatican announces final plans for Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Catholic News Agency 17/1/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute)

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Vatican Information Service 17/1/06)
Daily themes for Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Catholic World News 17/1/06)
Rome: special services to mark Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Independent Catholic News/Fides 16/1/06)

18 Jan 2006