Lord, pour out upon us the fullness of your mercy, and
by the power of your Spirit remove divisions among Christians. Let your
Church rise more clearly as a sign for all the nations that the world may be
filled with the light of your Spirit and believe in Jesus Christ whom you have
sent, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and
   (from the Mass for Unity of Christians)

The work of bringing about the unity among Christians is a supreme priority for all Catholics, indeed, all Christians. In the 26+ year ministry of Pope John Paul II we saw this work unfold and advance in many unimaginable ways, as we did with previous popes, but John Paul recognized Christian unity as a fruit of the Holy Spirit. We were reminded the Church’s priority for Christian unity at the beginning of Benedict’s pontificate. The month of January 2010 we are asked by the Pope to keep this work in our sacrifice of prayer not because it is a “nice thing to do,” but because it is a condition, that is, a premise, a stipulation, a prerequisite for Catholic faith and life. Let’s recall a portion of what Benedict said at his inaugural Mass as Supreme Pontiff:

…image of the shepherd and that of the fisherman issue
an explicit call to unity. “I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I
must lead them too, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock,
one shepherd” (Jn 10:16); these are the words of Jesus at the end of his
discourse on the Good Shepherd. And the account of the 153 large fish ends with
the joyful statement: “although there were so many, the net was not torn” (Jn
21:11). Alas, beloved Lord, with sorrow we must now acknowledge that it has
been torn! But no – we must not be sad! Let us rejoice because of your promise,
which does not disappoint, and let us do all we can to pursue the path towards
the unity you have promised. Let us remember it in our prayer to the Lord, as
we plead with him: yes, Lord, remember your promise. Grant that we may be one
flock and one shepherd! Do not allow your net to be torn, help us to be
servants of unity! (Pope Benedict XVI, Homily for the Beginning of the Petrine
Ministry, 2005)