“The path to Christian unity and the path of synodal conversion of the Church are linked. I would like to take this opportunity to announce that on Saturday 30 September, an ecumenical prayer vigil will be held on St. Peter’s Square, with which we will entrust the work of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. For the young people coming to the vigil, there will be a special programme throughout that weekend, entrusted to the Taizé community. As of now, I invite brothers and sisters of all Christian denominations to participate in this “Gathering of the People of God.” (Pope Francis, January 2023).
Let Us Pray TogetherTo enable as many people as possible to take part in this ecumenical prayer vigil, the teams of “Vatican Media” will be broadcasting live between 4.30pm and 6pm the programme leading up to the vigil, and then from 6pm to 7pm the prayer presided over by Pope Francis, in the presence of Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop Justin Welby, the General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, Rev. Anne Burghardt, and many church leaders from different denominations.
On the Vatican Media YouTube channel it will be possible to follow the entire programme in eight languages: Italian, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Polish and Arabic. A number of television and radio channels will also be broadcasting the prayer vigil live. See the latest video messages for #Together23 Gathering of the People of God https://www.youtube.com/@Together23
Speaking at a press conference in the Vatican earlier this month, Sr. Nathalie Becquart, Undersecretary of the General Secretariat of the Synod, said that the central goal of the vigil is to entrust the Synod to the Holy Spirit. At the same time, she said, it will demonstrate “commitment to unity and peace in this world torn apart by so many divisions”, as well as “the importance of prayer” for the unity of all Christians. (The 16th General Assembly of the Synod is taking place in the Vatican, 4-29 October). The programme for the Vigil will include listening to the Word of God, praise and intercession, Taizé songs and silence.
The following are the useful links to the latest about the event on social media platforms: Facebook / Instagram: @30Sept2023 #Together2023 ; and on X (formerly known as Twitter): @Together2023
A celebration of gratitude
Before Saturday’s prayer vigil, from 5 to 6 pm, there will be a celebration of gratitude centred on four gifts, namely:
- gratitude for the gift of unity and for the synodal journey;
- gratitude for the gift of the other;
- gratitude for the gift of peace;
- and gratitude for the gift of the Creation.
As the Churches are celebrating the Season of Creation, St. Peter’s Square will also be full, of trees and flowers, as well as the San Damiano Cross of St. Francis.
In the same spirit, more than 200 prayer points have been organised across the world, on or around, 30 September, with Christians from different Churches sharing prayer and reflection together in their own countries. By sharing the same songs and Bible readings as we pray in many different places, we give a very strong sign of communion. You can of course adapt the songs to include ones known in your locality, while still maintaining a meditative and reflective nature for the prayer. It would be great to invite leaders of your local Churches to come together for this prayer vigil, as well as members of their congregations.
Let Us Pray …
Holy Spirit, breath of Pentecost, you send us to proclaim Christ and to welcome into our communities those who do not yet know him. Come down, we pray, upon the participants of the Synod and upon all who are present, filling them with your wisdom and courage in order to be servants of communion and bold witnesses of your forgiveness in today’s world!
The Church’s Radical Reform: Tablet Christopher Lamb Podcast Link – First Anglican Prior of Taize talks about Christian Unity and the Synod
Gathering Together Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/30Sept2023
For details of prayers being held in Britain and Ireland (and elsewhere in the world) as a sign of communion with those gathered in Rome for the «Together» vigil on Saturday 30 September, see: HERE
See Taize website