Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

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(CCCB - Ottawa)…The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity will be celebrated January 18 to 25, 2011. These are the dates being used by Catholic parishes across Canada as well as by most Churches around the world.

Following a longstanding practice in this country to celebrate the Week of Prayer on optional dates, a number of other Canadian Christian Churches and ecclesial communities will be celebrating the Week of Prayer this year on January 16 to 23. Including two Sundays can make it easier to increase the number of events to mark the Week of Prayer. However, the Permanent Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops several years ago recommended instead that the Canadian celebrations follow the same dates used elsewhere in the world. This makes it easier for parishes to access resources in other languages and to use materials from other countries.

Inaugurated in 1908 at the initiative of Rev. Paul Wattson, an Episcopalian priest from the United States who would later join the Catholic Church, the event is now celebrated all around the world.
The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, in collaboration with the World Council of Churches, offers a resource for celebrating the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity that includes readings and prayers for each of the eight days of the week inspired by the theme, "They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42)

To help observe this important week, the Roman Catholic – Anglican Bishops’ Dialogue (ARCB) will be holding an ecumenical evening prayer January 20, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. at St. Isaac Jogues parish in Pickering, Ontario. All are welcome.

This year’s theme was chosen by Christian leaders from Jerusalem.  They invite meditation on four elements that unite Christians in the one Body of Christ despite the great diversity of language and culture amongst its members. These are:

  •  the importance of our devotion to the teachings of the Apostles,
  •  fellowship,
  •  the breaking of bread
  •  and prayer.

During the 2011 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the faithful are invited to find opportunities to express the degree of communion which the churches have already reached and to pray for full unity among Christians during the course of the Week and year round.

In addition, the faithful of the Universal Church are also invited this year by the Churches in Jerusalem “to remember them in their precarious situation and to pray for justice that will bring peace in the Holy Land.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is the national assembly of Catholic Bishops who have pastoral responsibility for 12.8 million Catholics across the country. The Conference provides ways for assisting the Bishops of Canada in their common pastoral responsibilities in different areas such as doctrine, ecumenical and interfaith relations, justice and peace issues, liturgy and catechesis.

For further information visit:

Useful links:

Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

World Council of Churches

The Canadian Council of Churches Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Committee adapts the internationally prepared resource for use in Canada

A resource kit, including posters, bulletins, and a formatted order of service, is also available from Novalis

Pray without ceasing: The importance of prayer for Christian Unity

Last Updated on Wednesday, January 19 2011  
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