What began on the Holy Mountain of Graymoor as a period of eight days to pray for the union of all Christians has evolved into an annual worldwide ecumenical celebration.
Servant of God Father Paul Wattson, SA, and Mother Lurana White, SA, started the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity over 100 years ago. And over a century later, it’s a universal success, observed across the world between January 18 and January 25.
The 2023 celebration, themed “Do good; seek justice,” garnered much attention from media outlets and religious communities alike, resulting in worldwide attention. Likewise, there were numerous celebrations that took place in all corners of the globe.
- Kicking off the week, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, sent a tweet recognizing Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, calling us to “thank the Lord who faithfully guides His people towards full communion.”
- The Vatican News and the Catholic News Agency each published stories on their websites about Pope Francis’ announcement of an ecumenical service to be held in September, prior to the Synod of Bishops. In both stories, the significance and importance of Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is mentioned. Click here to read the story in Vatican News; click here to read CNA’s story.
- Vatican News also published a story on the Pope’s call for Christians to oppose war and injustice, wherever they appear. Click here to read the story.
- Rita and Giulio Seller authored a story titled “Ecumenical Dialogue: All part of the Same People” for Focolare Movement – an international organization that promotes unity and universal brotherhood. Click here to read their story.
- The World Council of Churches published a feature story about Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, noting how “unity prayers focus on how we can join hands and minds and do the work that God has called us to do.” Click here to read the story.
- A history of Week of Prayer for Christian Unity was discussed by Father James Kubicki on Relevant Radio. Father Paul and Mother Lurana were mentioned in the interview, which can be listened to here. The Week of Prayer discussion begins at 23:21.
- The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops published a story about Week of Prayer, citing Pope Francis’ call for unity in his homily during the ecumenical vespers service on January 25. Click here to read the story.
- Father Jim Loughran, SA, Vicar General and Director of the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute, joined Sacred Heart Radio to discuss 2023 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. His interview begins at the one hour, 37-minute mark.
- Father Jim Puglisi, SA, Director of the Centro Pro Unione in Rome, was interviewed by Avvenire, a daily Italian Catholic Newspaper, to discuss Week of Prayer. Click here to read the story.
Celebrations Around the World
While Week of Prayer made numerous headlines in the media, it also prompted observance and celebrations from around the world.
Among the celebrations, the Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute, and the Interchurch Center Committee on Ecumenical, Interfaith, and Community Concerns held their annual ecumenical service of the word. The service was conducted at the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute Interchurch Center in New York City on January 18.
The Centro Pro Unione in Rome held a vigil of prayer for Christian Unity, which was streamed and can be rewatched here. The Centro also hosted a group of students who wished to learn more about ecumenism and Christian unity.
At Graymoor, the Friars held a Mass for Christian Unity, celebrated by Father Dan Callahan, SA.
Father Jim Gardiner, SA, was among the celebrants at a Christian unity service held at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Chestertown, Maryland on Friday, January 20.
On Sunday, January 22, hours after the Friars held a celebration of profession of vows at Graymoor’s Our Lady of the Atonement Chapel, they attended an ecumenical service of the word at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in-the-Highlands, in Cold Spring. The service followed a ceremony during which Brother Jan Janoszka, SA, professed his final vows at an Atonement Friar at Graymoor.
Brother Jan was joined by Deacon Tom Malone, TSA; Deacon Tom Rich, TSA; and Deacon Gary Swane, TSA, who each made their final professions as Tertiaries of the Society of the Atonement. Brother Kevin Elphick, TSA, also made his first profession as a Tertiary.