Rome (Italy). From 18 to 25 January 2024, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is celebrated, an ecumenical initiative in which Christians from all over the world, belonging to different traditions and confessions, gather spiritually in prayer for the unity of the Church.

It was officially initiated by the Episcopalian Reverend Paul Wattson in Graymoor, New York in 1908, as the Octave for the Unity of the Church. In the northern hemisphere of the world, it is held every year between the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter and that of the Conversion of Saint Paul. In the southern hemisphere, where January is a holiday period, churches celebrate the Week of Prayer on other dates, for example in the time of Pentecost, as suggested by the Faith and Constitution movement in 1926, an equally symbolic period for the unity of the Church.

The Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity therefore encourages communities to use the proposed material with flexibility and to find opportunities throughout the year.

Since 1968, the material for animation has been produced by the Faith and Constitution Commission of the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity. Since 1975, these texts have been prepared on the basis of a project developed each year by a local ecumenical group in a different country.

“Love the Lord your God… and love your neighbor as yourself” (Lk 10: 27) is the theme chosen for Week 2024. The resource aid was prepared by an Ecumenical Group of Burkina Faso, coordinated by the local Chemin Neuf Community (CCN). Those involved in the drafting of the text were brothers and sisters from the Catholic Archdiocese of Ouagadougou, from the Protestant Churches, by ecumenical bodies, and the CCN in Burkina Faso. All generously collaborated in the drafting of prayers and reflections, living this experience of working together as a true journey of ecumenical conversion.

The political and social situation in Burkina Faso is unstable and there are many threats to peace and social cohesion. The preparation of the texts for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, in such a difficult period in the history of the country, helped to make the ecumenical editorial team reflect on the love of Christ that unites all Christians and to recognize that it is stronger than divisions.

After the initial drafting process, an international group appointed jointly by the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity and the Faith and the Constitution Commission of the World Council of Churches met in Rome, at the Casa San Giuseppe in Cluny, whose members are especially committed to Christian unity. This international team worked with the local editorial team to review and finalize the materials.

The texts, jointly published by the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity and the Faith and Constitution Commission of the World Council of Churches, are available to Christians around the world and, when necessary, can be adapted, taking into account local situations, social and cultural contexts and liturgical and devotional practices.

The Missions Sector of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians invites you to use the materials to animate and sensitize the Educating Communities to this urgency of the present time, which is interreligious and ecumenical dialogue as a path to peace, to express the degree of communion already achieved among the Churches, and to pray together for the attainment of full unity according to the will of Christ.

Lord Jesus Christ, as we walk with You towards unity, may we not turn our gaze away from the world, but keep it vigilant.               
Grant that, as we walk the paths of our life, we are able to stop and extend our hand, to bind the wounded, and thus feel that You are present in them, You who live and reign in the centuries of the centuries. Amen.

Link to the materials:
Dicastery for the promotion of Christian Unity
Ecumenical Center


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