A Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is held every year from the 18th to the 25th January - the octave of St. Peter and St. Paul. Those dates were proposed in 1908 by Paul Wattson to cover the days between the feasts of St Peter and St Paul, and therefore have a symbolic significance. In the southern hemisphere where January is a vacation time churches often find other days to celebrate the week of prayer, for example around Pentecost (suggested by the Faith and Order movement in 1926), which is also a symbolic date for the unity of the church.
The aim of the Week of Prayer are:
- To pray as Christ prayed "That they may be one".
- To pray for the unity of all Christian People as we share in Christ's ministry.
Change is at the heart of our Christian faith. Saint Paul said that anyone who is in Christ is a new creation, and we are called to live as children in the light.
The theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2012 comes to us from the churches in Poland, who have reflected upon their own experience as a nation, and in particular how, as a nation, they have been changed and transformed by the many upheavals of their history, and sustained by their faith.
Change is also at the heart of the ecumenical movement. When we pray for the unity of the church we are praying that the churches that we know and which are so familiar to us will change as they conform more closely to Christ. This is an exciting vision, but also a challenging one. Furthermore, when we pray for this transforming unity we are also praying for change in the world.
Mindful of the need for flexibility, you are invited to use the material throughout the whole year to express the degree of communion which the churches have already reached, and to pray together for that full unity which is Christ’s will.The international texts being used have been prepared by the joint group drawn from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches with a view to international distribution. Churches together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) have adapted the material prepared at the international level and made it available for local use in Ireland and Britain which is what is being recommended by the Irish Conference of Bishops and is being used in the Diocese of Limerick.
Resources for the Week of Prayer are available HERE.
Next Sunday, Sacred Space 102fm will be contributing to understanding between the Christian faith communities in Limerick Diocese as we will have a special interview with members of the Church of Ireland in Limerick.