“One in the apostle’s teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer” Cf: Acts 2:42
When in 1908, Franciscan Episcopal Father Paul J. Francis initiated a week for Christian Unity in January he had no idea how much fruit the effort would bear. The first fruits occurred one year late. He and the other Friars of the Atonement were all received into the Catholic Church.
First called the Church Unity Octave, Pope St. Pius X gave the practice his blessing in 1909 and in 1921 the bishops of the United States adopted it. It is now jointly sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches.
The scripture reading chosen as the theme for this year is taken from the Acts of the Apostles and reflects the essential elements of the Apostolic Church…community, Eucharist and prayer. Sadly, unity among Christians has been elusive even from the earliest days of the Church and it continues to be so, although prayer and dialogue continue at many levels in an effort to bring it about.
What form would it take? Only God knows. What we know is that the search for unity is like climbing a mountain. The peak is shrouded in clouds and mist. We do not know what will be found there, but we know we are compelled to continue climbing.
We are compelled to continue praying in faith and in hope for that unity that Jesus spoke of in his priestly prayer at the Last Supper.
“Father may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you, so that the world may believe that it was you who sent me” John 17:21