Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Jan. 18-25, 2024


By Harry Winter, O.M.I.

Photo from GEII Website

What makes this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity different from previous years?  The final report of the October 2023 Synod urges more representation from Protestant and Eastern Orthodox Churches in the coming Oct. 2024 synod.

This means in the minds and hearts of many people, that on the local parish and diocesan level, there should also be increased attention to Christian Unity.  When Catholics marry now, over half of these marriages in the USA are of one Roman Catholic and one non-Catholic Christian. These families are the cells for progress among our Churches, yet little attention is paid to their difficulty in maintaining their faith, especially in receiving the Eucharist together.

Our social justice issues seem to increase: abortion, immigration, and discrimination.  To confront these challenges, Christians need to work together. Our Protestant evangelical Churches especially work with us to confront abortion; our Protestant liberal Christians, discrimination as illustrated by the observances of Martin Luther King Jr. Day Jan. 15. We need both groups of Churches.

The theme chosen this year by the Vatican and the World Council of Churches (WCC) is “You shall love the Lord your God . . . and your neighbor as yourself” (Lk. 10:27, including the Parable of the Good Samaritan).  The Vatican and the WCC asked the Christian Churches of Burkina Faso and the ecumenical community in France, Chemin Neuf (which began as a Catholic Charismatic community), to present this. The Wikipedia article on Chemin Neuf is very thorough. The worldwide spread of Chemin Neuf is remarkable.

 Materials for the Week of Prayer may still be obtained from the Franciscan Graymoor Institute at www.geii.org.

Let us again use the prayers for Christian Unity in our Oblate Prayer Book, pp. 73-76, remembering the urgency of the synodality final report.