VATICAN: Churches around the world celebrating “Week of prayer for Christian unity.”
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is being celebrated by many Churches around the world including Pakistan from January 18th to 25th, emphasizing this year on a challenging question from Saint Paul to the early Christian community in Corinth: ‘Has Christ been divided?’ Wherewithal, for this twelve-monthly event have been developed by an ecumenical group of Christians in Canada.
The theme of this year’s Week for Christian Unity, “Can Christ Be Divided?” comes from the First Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians. This is a provocation, because Christ cannot be divided– but we do have many splits and many divisions within the Churches, and this a very great challenge for ecumenism, to overcome these divisions.
Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch while reflecting on the impact has Pope Francis had on the ecumenical movement said: I think with Pope Francis we have a new engagement, an engagement in the manner of his pontificate, and of being very open to the other Churches. And he has had many visits: the Coptic Pope, Tawadros II, has visited the Holy Father here in Rome, and the Patriarch of Antioch and Alexandria, and also the Archbishop of Canterbury, from the Anglicans. All the heads of Churches will come to Rome, and I think this is a very good sign.
Observing the week of prayer for Christian unity in Pakistan, an inaugural prayer service was held. A congregation in excess of 200 priests, pastors, sisters and others attended this service. At this occasion, Fr. Inayat Bernard rector of St. Mary’s Seminary said: we begin our Unity Octave today on the 18th January, 2014 and will end on the 25th of this month. These dates were proposed in 1908 by Paul Wattson to cover the days between the feasts of St. Peter and St. Paul. The EUC has been actively working from October 2012, for promotion and understanding among churches; Ecumenical Christmas Carol on 14th December annually, Alleluia Conference after Easter has been a regular activity for the mainline churches to celebrate with their faithful. He concluded by saying: the Unity is becoming strong among the main line four denominations.