DPPL 182: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

STA altar at night smallYou can easily do a search on this site for Neil’s many fine contributions on this observance.

182. At every celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the Church prays for unity and peace(Cf. Roman Missal, Ordo Missae, the prayer Domine Jesu Christe, before the sign of peace), mindful of the Jesus’ prayer. “May they all be one. Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me” (John 17, 21). The Missale Romanum contains three Masses -among those for various needs- “for Christian unity”. The same intention is remembered in the intercessions of the Liturgy of the Hours”( See for example: the intercessions at Vespers on Sunday and Monday of the first week, on Wednesday of the third week; and the prayers at Lauds on Wednesday of the fourth week).

A reminder: we are all separated from one another. Catholics are most definitely included among the separated. The Church urges our prayers for unity. Do we feel the urgency enough, I wonder?

In deference to the sensibilities of the “separated (sisters and brothers)” (Cf. Unitatis redintegratio 3), expressions of popular piety should take into account the principle of ecumenism (Cf. Paul VI, Marialis cultus, 32-33). Effectively, “change of heart and holiness of life, along with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians, should be regarded as the soul of the whole ecumenical movement, and merits the name ‘spiritual ecumenism'” (Unitatis redintegratio, 8). The encounter of Catholics with Christians from other Churches or ecclesial communities affords a special occasion for common prayer for the grace of Christian unity, to offer to God their common anxieties, to give thanks to God and to implore his assistance. “Common prayer is particularly recommended during the “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity” or during the period between Ascension and Pentecost”(Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, Directoire pour l’application des Principes et des Normes sur l’Oecuménisme (25.3.1993), 110: AAS 85 (1993) 1084). Prayer for Christian unity also carries several indulgences(Cf. EI, Aliae concessiones, 11, p. 58).

The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy is online at the Vatican site.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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