Rome (Italy). The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity takes place from 18 to 25 January 2021, the ecumenical initiative in which all Christian denominations pray for the achievement of unity. Officially started by the Episcopalian Reverend Paul Wattson in Graymoor, New York in 1908 as Octave for the unity of the Church with the hope that it would become common practice, is held every year in the time between the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter and that of the Conversion of Saint Paul.
This year’s theme, chosen by the International Commission of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and by the Faith and Constitution Commission of the Ecumenical Council of Churches, is taken from the Gospel of John: “Remain in my love: you will produce much fruit” (Jn 15: 1-17).
The Materials for prayer for Week 2021 was prepared by the monastic community of Grandchamp, in Switzerland, which gathers nuns from different countries and of different Christian traditions, and is engaged in the search for itineraries of reconciliation among Christians. The theme allowed them to share the experience of the contemplative life, grafted onto the love of the Lord, and to speak about the fruit of prayer, which is profound communion with brothers and sisters in Christ and greater solidarity with the entire creation:
“We cannot bear fruit ourselves. We cannot produce fruit separated from the vine. It is the sap, the life of Jesus that flows in us, that produces fruit. Remaining in the love of Jesus, remaining a branch of the vine, is what allows His life to flow in us.”
The prayer itinerary proposed for the eight days:
Day 1 – Called by God: “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you” (Jn 15: 16a)
Day 2 – Mature interiorly: “Remain united to me, and I will remain united to you” (Jn 15: 4)
Day 3 – Become one body: “Love each other as I have loved you” (Jn 15: 12b)
Day 4 – Pray together: “I no longer call you slaves … I call you friends” (Jn 15: 15)
Day 5 – Let yourself be transformed by the Word: “You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.”(Jn 15: 3)
Day 6 – Welcome others: “I appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain” (Jn 15: 16b)
Day 7 – Grow in unity: “I am the vine. You are the branches” (Jn 15: 5a)
Day 8 – Reconcile with the entire creation: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete” (Jn 15: 11)
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity includes many initiatives organized by the Dioceses which, given the health emergency due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will mainly take place online.
For deeper study: