Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity - January 18 to 25, 2007

The following is a letter from Bishop Patrick J. McGrath to all pastors of the Diocese of San Jose regarding the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

As you are aware, each year the Church celebrates January 18-25 as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This week of prayer constitutes an ideal time to bring to our people an awareness of the ecumenical mission of the Church. In addition, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity provides us with an excellent opportunity for our parishes and institutions to deepen our ecumenical spiritual life in union with our fellow Christians.

The theme for the 2007 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is “Open our ears and loosen our tongues” (Mark 7:31-37). In the early days of his papacy, Pope Benedict XVI has made ecumenical issues a priority. In addition, he continues to remind us of the centrality of spiritual ecumenism in the ministry of building up the unity of Christ’s Body.

With this in mind, I write to encourage you and to give you permission to observe Sunday, January 21, 2007, as a special day of prayer for Christian Unity and to substitute the prayers of the Mass of the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time with the prayers of the Mass for the Unity of Christians (#13, Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions, A or B, Sacramentary, p 889-891). In addition, you are free to use either the Preface for Christian Unity (#76 in the Sacramentary) or the new Eucharistic Prayer I, “The Church on the Way to Unity,” with its proper Preface.

I would also request that you include a petition for the unity of all Christians in the Prayer of the Faithful on that day.

Thank you for your generosity in ministry and, in particular, for your attention to the ecumenical and inter-faith endeavors.

With every best wish and kind regard, I remain,

Sincerely yours,

Patrick J. McGrath
Bishop of San Jose

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Below are some intercessions you can include in the Sunday Masses during the weekend of January 20-21, 2007. Please feel free to adapt and translate these according to your needs.

For the entire body of Christ into which all Christians are baptized: [pause]
for the grace of peace, understanding, and reconciliation;
for an appreciation of our differences, the acknowledgement of our need for each other,
and the untiring effort to be one body united in one Spirit.
We pray to the Lord.

For all who have been hurt by the division among Christians: [pause]
for ecumenical families and households;
for church leaders and their congregations;
for glad tidings to those who weep and a year of favor for all God’s people.
We pray to the Lord.

In addition, this Web site of the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute may be helpful for you in your planning.

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