Benedict XVI promotes week of prayer for Christian unity


After praying the Angelus on Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI welcomed the start of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  This year, the eight days of meditation take on the theme of "kergyma" or proclamation of the Gospel.

The Holy Father promoted the week, which runs from Jan. 18 - 25, saying that it annually renews the opportunity for us "to revive the ecumenical spirit, to come together, to get to know each other, pray and reflect together."

The Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches jointly prepared and published a brochure outlining that the 2010 theme of the prayer for unity would be "kergyma,"or "preaching" in Greek, and that Chapter 24 of the Gospel of St. Luke is the biblical text for meditation. 

In this text, Jesus is found to be missing from the tomb, appears to the disciples and calls for them to preach repentance in his name, for the forgiveness of sins, to all nations.

This theme, said Pope Benedict, "harks back to the word of Jesus resurrected to the Apostles: 'You are witnesses of these things.' "

In closing his appeal for the week of prayer, the Holy Father said, "Our announcement of the Gospel of Christ will be so much more credible and effective when we are united in his love, as true brothers.  I invite, therefore, the parishes, religious communities, associations and ecclesial movements to pray incessantly, in particular during the eucharistic celebrations, for the full unity of Christians."

Organizers suggest the following daily meditations for the Week of prayer: Day One, praising the One who gives us the gift of life and resurrection; Day Two, knowing how to share our the story of our faith with others; Day Three, recognizing that God is at work in our lives; Day Four, giving thanks for the faith we have received; Day Five, confessing Christ's victory over all suffering, Day Six, seeking to be ever more faithful to the Word of God; Day Seven, growing in faith, hope and love; Day Eight, offering hospitality and knowing how to receive it when it is offered to us.

A brochure is available online on the World Council of Churches website offering resources for the observance of the week.

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