“I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.” John 17:20-21
Monday begins the 2010 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Jan. 18-25), a time when Christians pray for the unity that Jesus prayed for. We do not know what form the unity that God wants for us will take, but we know we must seek it.
Seeking Christian Unity is like climbing a mountain, the top of which is shrouded by a cloud. You do not know what you will find on the cloud-covered top, but you know you must make the climb.
The Week of Prayer has special meaning this year because of its origin and the Holy Father’s invitation to Anglicans to come into the Church. The Church Unity Octave, forerunner of the Week of Prayer for Christian was first observed in 1908 by the Atonement Friars an Anglican community at Graymoor, New York. Less than two years later, the friars and a sister community of Anglican women religious, were received corporately into the Catholic Church.
Father Paul James Watson, SA, had been ordained into the Protestant Episcopal priesthood in 1886. In 1910 he was ordained a Catholic priest. The companion community of nuns was founded by Sister Lurana White, who also converted to Catholicism in 1909.
In 1916 Pope Benedict XV extended the Church Unity Octave to the universal church and in 1966 the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches began collaborating with the Vatican on the observance. The Graymoor Friars remain the principal promoters of the week.
We continue our journey toward that Christian unity that is God’s will.