The way that catechists, teachers, and parents speak about other Christians is powerful in forming the attitudes and opinions of the children in our care. While there are distinct and important differences between the beliefs and practices of Catholics and other Christians, we should draw the line at criticizing other Christian Churches. While acknowledging our differences, we are called to find and promote unity in our common belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and our Savior.
Every year, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is observed from January 18 to 25. It invites the whole Christian community throughout the world to pray in communion with the prayer of Jesus “that they all may be one” (John 17:21).
The theme for this year’s observance is “We saw the star in the East, and we came to worship Him” (cf. Mathew 2:2) from the Gospel text for the Epiphany of the Lord. As the Church recalls the visit of the Magi to Bethlehem, we recognize and celebrate God’s invitation to all of humanity to a new covenant through the Incarnation.
Read about the history of this observance and find context, Church teaching, and ideas for implementation in Susan J. Kay’s article “That All May Be One: Ecumenical Awareness and Outreach” (Catechist.com). Find a collection of prayers, Homily notes, parish resources, and ideas for promoting Christian unity throughout the year here.
Join us in praying for Christian unity:
O Prince of Peace,
rule over our hearts, souls, and minds
with your peace that passes all understanding.
Wherever there are differences,
let us rejoice in what we have in common.
Where divisions creep in,
let unity restore us as one in you.
Where hate threatens to tear us apart,
let the promise of your love for all the world
bring calm amidst strife and quiet out of clamor.
In all our words and deeds,
may the harmony of your presence among us be shown.
Prayer credit: © Mark Zimmerman, Creative Communications for the Parish, Bayard Inc.
Image credit: © 2021 Franciscan Friars of the Atonement