Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
(Wednesday, January 18 – Wednesday, January 25)
by Cynthia James – Catholic News Service
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity gives Christians an annual opportunity to continue their quest for the unity they already share in Christ. It is also a time to gather in praise of the Triune God and to deepen the understanding of the ecumenical movement. By joining in this annual celebration Christians raise their voices, hands and hearts to God seeking the fulfillment of the prayer of Jesus, the Son of God, “that they all may be one.”DOWNLOAD THE BULLETIN
The Week of Prayer also invites those who participate to use it as an opportunity to examine the effectiveness of the ecumenical movement in seeking to end the divisions among Christians. From the smallest to the largest communities, from all cultures, races and language groups, from all the baptized to all those in ordained ministry, the Week of Prayer is also an opportunity to ask and examine the level of support they have given to this important movement in the life of the Church. An accounting of each Christian’s discipleship and faithfulness to the proclamation of the Gospel—the good news of reconciliation—can be taken every year during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
The theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in 2023 was selected by the Minnesota Council of Churches, USA in the aftermath of the extrajudicial killing of George Floyd and the trial of the police officer responsible for his death. These events brought anguish, but also time for the Christian communities to contemplate ways in which they may be complicit in racial injustice. Christian unity is needed as a source of reconciliation and unity.
The theme, taken from the first chapter of the Book of Isaiah, reflects his concern for the oppressed who suffer from injustice and inequality fed by hypocrisy that leads to disunity. He teaches that God requires righteousness and justice from all of us, to create the peace and unity that God desires. These virtues originate in God’s love for all, and racism runs counter to this vision. Isaiah’s challenge to do good and seek justice together applies equally to us today.
Each new experience of prayer and gathering provides the Christian faith community with opportunities to grow in our understanding of one another as we celebrate our unity and common mission.
“Do good; seek justice.” – Isaiah 1:17