This is traditionally observed from 18 to 25 January – the octave of St Peter and St Paul.  It is the Gospel desire of the Lord: ‘that all may be one’ (John 17:21).  We pray for the fruits of a closer communion with all Christians, a living witness to our common baptism and a deeper solidarity with all creation.

CLICK HERE for more information about the 2022 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity as well as prayer resources which includes a booklet with daily reflections.

We Saw His Star in the East

Reflection

Unity among His children is very dear to our Father's heart.  This should be easy to understand - what human father wants to see his children squabbling and fighting?  But we need to remember that unity does not mean uniformity - to be different is not wrong.  God is after all a God of great variety - we have only to look at His creation to realise that.  Differences in His Church are nothing new.  The cries "I am for Peter, I am for Paul, I am for Apollos!" have echoed in different ways down the centuries.  Saint Paul had to remind the early Christians that Jesus was their point of unity, just as He is ours today.

In his encyclical letter "Ut Unum Sint" on the Church's commitment to ecumenism, Pope St John Paul II "seeks to encourage the efforts of all who work for the cause of unity" (section 3), and reminds us that: "At the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church committed herself irrevocably to following the path of ecumenical venture.  Relations between Christians are not aimed merely at mutual knowledge, common prayer and dialogue.  They pre-suppose and from now on call for every possible form of practical co-operation at all levels - pastoral, cultural and social, as well as that of witnessing to the Gospel message" (section 40).  And as Pope Francis points out in the encyclical Evangelii Gaudium: "We must never forget that we are pilgrims journeying alongside each other, and we must have sincere trust in our fellow pilgrims...reaping what the Spirit has sown in them which is also meant to be a gift for us" (sections 244-246).

There are no specific joint local church activities planned for this January's Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, but we should all be praying for continuing growth in our mutual understanding, fellowship and friendship.  As Paul clearly explains in Ephesians 1:10, it is the Father's plan to "bring everything together under Christ as head, everything in the heavens and everything on earth".  How wonderful that will be -  let's all play our parts this January in bringing it closer!

Charles Whitehead, KSG

Prayer

May the divisions among Christians be overcome so that we may hasten to your eternal Kingdom in the perfect communion of the Church.

cf. Roman Missal