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Catholic News Herald

Serving Christ and Connecting Catholics in Western North Carolina

The theme for the 2018 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which is celebrated Jan. 18-25, is “Your Right Hand, O Lord, Glorious in Power.”

The theme, taken from Exodus 15:6, points to the glorious power of God to draw people together in the desire for Christian unity.

Throughout the Biblical narrative of salvation, an unmistakable motif is the unrelenting determination of the Lord to form a people whom He could call His own. The formation of such a people, united in a sacred covenant with God, is integral to the Lord’s plan of salvation and to the glorification of His name. The prophets repeatedly remind Israel that their covenant demanded that relationships among its various social groups should be characterized by justice, compassion and mercy. Reconciliation often demands repentance, reparation and healing of memories.

As Jesus prepared to seal the new covenant in His own blood, His earnest prayer to the Father was that those given to Him by the Father would be one, just as He and the Father were one. When Christians discover their unity in Jesus, they participate in Christ’s glorification in the presence of the Father, with the same glory that He had lived in the Father’s presence before the world existed. Therefore, God’s covenanted people must always strive to be a reconciled community that serves as an effective sign of how to live in justice and peace for all the people of the earth.

Today, the Bible continues to be a source of consolation and liberation, inspiring Christians to address the conditions that currently undermine the Body of Christ. The Church, like Israel, is called to be a sign and an active agent of reconciliation.

Artwork for this year’s poster is a modified version of a stained glass window “Hand of God” from Our Lady of the Lake Church in Pocono Pines, Pa.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has a 100-year history, beginning as an eight-day period of prayer in 1908 called the “Church Unity Octave,” established by founders of the Society of the Atonement, Mother Lurana White and Servant of God Father Paul Wattson of Graymoor. The octave begins with the feast of the Chair of St. Peter (Jan. 18) and ends on the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul (Jan. 25). Pope Pius X gave his blessing to the Church Unity Octave and in 1916, Pope Benedict XV extended its observance to the universal Church.
— Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute

More online

At www.geii.org: Find resource materials for the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, including a downloadable poster and prayer card, ideas for observing the week, scriptural guide and more