Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 8.30 pm
"United in the teaching of the Apostles, fraternal communion, the fraction of bread and prayer" (acts 2, 42), this is the theme of the week of prayer for Christian Unity which takes place from 18 to 25 January 2011.
This celebration will take place in the presence of Monsignor Jérôme BEAU, Auxiliary Bishop of Paris, Archbishop Emmanuel, Greek-Orthodox Metropolitan, and Pastor TENREIRO, President of the reformed church of France.
The Church in Jerusalem yesterday, today and tomorrow
Two thousand years ago, the first disciples of Christ gathered in Jerusalem experienced the bestowal of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost and were gathered together in the unity that constituted the body of Christ. Christians of all times and places see this event as the origin of their community of faithful, called together to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Although this primitive Church in Jerusalem has experienced difficulties, both outside and within it, its members have persevered in fidelity and fraternal communion, the fraction of bread and prayers.
It is not difficult to see that the situation of the first Christians in the Holy City is akin to that of the Church in Jerusalem today. The present community knows many of the joys and sufferings of the primitive Church: its injustices and inequalities, its divisions, but also its faithful perseverance and its consideration of a greater unity between Christians.
The churches in Jerusalem are now making us glimpse what it means to fight for unity, including in great difficulties. They show us that the call to unity can go well beyond words and really orient us towards a future that will make us anticipate the heavenly Jerusalem and contribute to its construction.
It takes realism for this idea to become reality. We are responsible for our divisions; they are the result of our own actions. We must transform our prayer, and ask God to transform us ourselves so that we can work actively in unity. We are willing to pray for unity, but it can prevent us from taking action for it to happen. Can it be that we ourselves hinder the Holy Spirit by obstructing unity; that our own pride [hubris] prevents unity?
It is from Jerusalem, the mother church, that the call to unity arrives this year to the churches of the whole world. Conscious of their own divisions and the need to do more themselves for the unity of the body of Christ, the churches in Jerusalem call upon all Christians to rediscover the values that constituted the unity of the first Christian community of Jerusalem, when it was assiduous to the teaching of the Apostles and to fraternal communion, to the fraction of bread and to prayers. That is the challenge. Christians in Jerusalem call upon their brothers and sisters to make this week of prayer the opportunity to renew their commitment to work for true ecumenism rooted in the experience of the early Church.
the week of prayer for Christian Unity
Traditionally, the week of prayer for Christian Unity is celebrated from 18 to 25
january. These dates were proposed in 1908 by Paul wattson in order to cover the period
between the feast of Saint Peter and that of Saint Paul. This choice therefore has a meaning
Symbolic. In the southern hemisphere, where the month of January is a summer holiday period,
one prefers to adopt another date, for example in the vicinity of Pentecost (which was
the faith and Constitution movement in 1926), which also represents another date for the
symbolic for the unity of the Church.
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