.- On Sunday Pope Benedict XVI commented on the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which is taking place Janurary 18-25. The Holy Father told the pilgrims gathered below his window that, by way of their prayers, all Christians can take part in the task of ecumenism.
The Pope recalled that the theme for this year’s Week of Prayer - "He even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak" - is "taken from the Gospel of St. Mark and refers to the people's amazement at Jesus' healing of the deaf man."
The original idea for the theme, he continued, came from the faithful in Umlazi, South Africa, “a poor city where AIDS has assumed the proportions of a pandemic and where human hopes are very few.”
In Umlazi, the Pontiff said, “the Risen Christ brings hope to everyone, especially to Christians. Heirs to the divisions of the past, (the people of Umlazi) now wish to launch this appeal: Christ can do anything, He ‘even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.’ In other words, He is capable of infusing Christians with the ardent desire to listen to others, to communicate with others and, with Him, to talk the language of mutual love."
"Ecumenism is a profound experience of dialogue, an act of listening and talking to one another, ... a task that everyone can undertake, especially as regards 'spiritual ecumenism' based on the prayer and experiences that Christians are currently able to share," he said
The Pope expressed the hope that "the desire for unity, translated into prayer and fraternal collaboration to alleviate man's suffering, may become ever more widespread." He also thanked all the people who, "all over the world, pray and work for unity with conviction and constancy.”