Tag Archives: Christian Unity

Pope explains the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

This week, as you know, is a period of time for prayer (and fasting, I hope) for the intention of Christian Unity. The intention in my mind, and I might say, in the mind of the Pope, is a non-negotiable: we need not only to pray but to actively work for unity among Christians. This week, therefore, is an invitation to beg the Lord for the grace of unity for the Church.

Pope Benedict speaks to the matter of our own conversion, a deep change of heart viz. unity. We need a united witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ today.

Christianity is not a community closed-in on itself, Pope tells us about Unity among Christians

The Pope’s homily for Vespers at the Basilica of Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls for the feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul and the closing of Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. A video clip of the event.

Pope Benedict SPFLM.jpg

Following the
example of Jesus, who on the eve of his Passion prayed to the Father for his
disciples “that they may all be one” (John 17:21), Christians
continue to invoke incessantly from God the gift of this unity. This request is
made more intense during the Week of Prayer, which ends today, when the
Churches and ecclesial Communities meditate and pray together for the unity of
all Christians.

This year the theme offered for our meditation was proposed by
the Christian communities of Jerusalem, to which I would like to express by heartfelt
gratitude, accompanied by the assurance of affection and prayer either on my
part or on that of the whole of the Church. The Christians of the Holy City
invite us to renew and 

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Pope talks about Christian Unity this week

This week the Christian Churches around the world are observing the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Today, the Pope gave his thoughts on the subject:

1.  “we have listening to the teaching of the Apostles, or
listening to the witness that they give to the mission, life, death and
resurrection of the Lord Jesus. It is what Paul simply calls the Gospel”.
“Even today, the community of believers recognizes in reference to the
teaching of the Apostles the law for their faith; every effort to build unity
among all Christians therefore passes through the deepening of fidelity to the
deposit of faith handed down to us by the apostles.”

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Blessed Osanna of Kotor

Thumbnail image for Bl Osanna of Kotor.jpgGod of compassion, enkindle anew in our hearts the
love of your cross. By the life and prayers of Blessed Osanna, who suffered for
the unity of the Church, may we become sharers in both your passion and your

Blessed Osanna (baptized Catherine Kosic) comes from the country of Montenegro, born in the 15th century of Orthodox parents. Her great-grandfather, grandfather, and father were priests, her brother was a monk and later a bishop. Traveling to the coast she encountered a Catholic family and through their witness and others, she converted to Catholicism. As a shepherdess and wishing to follow Christ more closely she found grace in the solitary life; Osanna took the habit of the Third Order Dominican laity and a new name. She was well known for her wisdom, mystical visions and following the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Her body is incorrupt. Pius XI beatified Osanna in 1934. The Church remembers Blessed Osanna for her desire for unity among Christians and peace among peoples. Therefore asks her to intercede for the Church for these intentions of unity and peace in families.

Conversion of Saint Paul

Gladly will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

Conversion of St Paul HSpeckaert.jpg

Among the biblical readings from today’s liturgy there is the celebrated text of St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians in which the Church is compared to the human body. The Apostle writes: “As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). The Church is understood as a body, which forms with Christ, who is the head, one single whole. Nevertheless, what the Apostle wishes to communicate is the idea of unity in the multiplicity of charisms, which are the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Thanks to these gifts the Church presents itself as a rich — and not a uniform — living organism, the fruit of the one Spirit who leads all into a profound unity, assuming the differences without abolishing them and realizing a harmonious ensemble. It prolongs the presence of the risen Lord in history, especially through the Sacraments, the Word of God, the charisms and the offices distributed in the community. For this reason, it is precisely in Christ and in the Spirit that the Church is one and holy, that is, an intimate communion that transcends and sustains human capacities.

I would like to emphasize this aspect while we are observing the “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity,” which concludes tomorrow, the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. Following tradition, I will celebrate vespers in the afternoon in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, with the participation of representatives from the other Churches and ecclesial communities present in Rome. We will ask God for the gift of the complete unity of all the disciples of Christ and, in particular, according to this year’s theme, we will renew the commitment to being together witnesses of the crucified and risen Lord (cf. Luke 24:48). The communion of Christians, in fact, makes the proclamation of the Gospel more credible and efficacious, as Jesus himself said as he prayed to the Father on the eve of his death: “That they may be one … that the world might believe” (John 17:21).

(Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus Address, January 24, 2010; Image of the “Conversion of Saint Paul” by Hans Speckaert)

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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