Mass for Christian Unity 2023

Father Dan Callahan, SA, posed the questions during his homily:

“When we watch television, what’s interesting? When we watch adventure movies, what’s interesting?”

It’s usually the sin, the scandal and, ultimately, the division that keeps our attention. As humans, Father Dan explained, we are almost hardwired for division. But, the Friars prayed for selflessness and love for others, which is what helps to dispel dissent, at their Mass for Christian Unity at the St. Paul Friary at Graymoor on Thursday, January 19.

The Mass took place on the second day of 2023 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

2023 Week of Prayer - Mass for Christian Unity - Fr Dan Callahan SAAfter the Gospel reading taken from John, Chapter 17, verses 20 to 26, Father Dan delivered a homily, commenting on how selflessness brings us in union with God and with our neighbors.

“To seek community and seek peace, really does require putting other people first and us stepping out of our self-interest to let the reality of God become manifest, because we love somebody else more than we love ourselves,” Father Dan said. “Manifest, because we demonstrate selflessness and it becomes very mysterious to people.

“And that’s really what the prayer of Jesus is all about. He prayed the night before He died in order that we might love one another as God loved us, and we can really hear the Word of God in such depth and understanding. We can be converted, and we can be people who love one another, who are selfless, who do proclaim the Word that’s acted out in such a way that we are as mysterious as God Himself, in Jesus Christ.”

Father Dan added that the prayer for Christian unity is one all the Churches pray.

“And we continue to pray that,” he said, “and we need to continue to pray for it with a mind that is the mind of Christ; the mind that embraces our enemies, that embraces division; a mind that embraces whatever it is that we disagree with, so we can learn to love one another because we understand one another. It takes prayer. We ask God to give us, as individuals and as a Church, this grace – this prayer of Jesus that we pray so assiduously as Friars, as Sisters, as people so dedicated to this Charism of At-One-Ment – that we live it, so the world can believe.”

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is an eight-day period of universal solemnity, designed to pray for Christian harmony in a unique way. Its history spans 115 years – and its roots began on the Holy Mountain of Graymoor.

Servant of God Father Paul Wattson, SA, and Mother Lurana White, SA, were the innovators of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, an annual ecumenical celebration. During the week, Christians are called to pray for unity within the faith, reflect on scripture and participate in communal services.

The celebration is conducted each year with a different religious theme. This year’s is “Do good; seek justice,” taken from the book of the Prophet Isaiah, Chapter 1, verse 17.