The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (WPCU), in the northern hemisphere, is traditionally observed from the 18 – 25 January – the octave of St Peter and St Paul.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2022 is on the theme:
We saw the star in the East, and we came to worship him. (Mt 2:2)
At least once a year, Christians are reminded of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples that “they may be one so that the world may believe” (see John 17.21). Hearts are touched and Christians come together to pray for their unity. Congregations and parishes all over the world exchange preachers or arrange special ecumenical celebrations and prayer services. The event that touches off this special experience is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in 2022 was chosen by the Middle East Council of Churches.
The story of the Magi visiting the Holy Family in Bethlehem is one very familiar to us. The Magi have sometimes been seen as a symbol of the world’s diversity – different religions and cultures – that comes to pay homage to the Christ–child. The story might therefore represent the unity of all created that God desires.
A Light that shines in the darkness
More than ever, in these difficult times, we need a light that shines in the darkness and that light, Christians proclaim, has been manifested in Jesus Christ.
We pray for greater unity among Christians in the Middle East and around the world that they may contribute to a more dignified, just and peaceful life for all men and women in our time and in the times to come.
The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity has a PDF resource that provides: background on the theme for 2022, an order for an ecumenical worship service, prayers from the service, the ‘eight days’, and a selection of additional prayers that can be used as appropriate in their own setting.
You can download the pdf document at this link WPCU-2022-English-A5-1.pdf.pages
The ecumenical dimension of the synodal process
In a joint letter sent on October 28, 2021 to all the bishops responsible for ecumenism, Cardinal Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Cardinal Grech, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, offered suggestions aimed at implementing the ecumenical dimension of the synodal process in the local churches.
“Both synodality and ecumenism, in fact, are processes of walking together,” the two Cardinals wrote.
Reflecting on the theme, the two Cardinals affirm:
“Like the Magi, Christians also walk together(synodos) guided by the same heavenly light and encounter the same darkness of the world. They too are called to adore Jesus together and to open their treasures. Aware of our need to be accompanied by our brothers and sisters in Christ and of their many gifts, we invite them to walk with us during these two years and we sincerely pray that Christ will bring us closer to Him and, thus, bring us closer to one another”.
as the Magi travelled to Bethlehem guided by the star,
so, with your heavenly light, guide the Catholic Church
so that it may walk together with all Christians during this synodal period.
As the Magi were united in
their adoration of Christ,
let us draw near to your Son
and thus draw us closer to one another,
so as to make us a sign of the unity you desire for your Church
and for the whole of creation.
We ask this of you through Christ our Lord.
(Prayer inspired by the theme of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (WPCU2022)).
Useful resource links: