Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
One hundred ten years ago tomorrow (18 January 1908) the first Week of Prayer for Christian Unity was observed. Founded as the Church Unity Octave by Rev. Paul Wattson, the week was dedicated to prayer for the unity of a divided Christianity. Eight years later in 1916 Pope Benedict XV extended the observance of the Week of Prayer to the entire Catholic Church. With the Second Vatican Council the Catholic Church committed itself fully to the ecumenical movement, the work of restoring unity between Christians.
Traditionally the week of prayer is celebrated between 18-25 January, between the feasts of St Peter and St Paul. In the southern hemisphere, where January is a vacation time, churches often find other days to celebrate it, for example around Pentecost, which is also a symbolic date for unity.
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