Home 9 Resource 9 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity | 12 – 19 May

A resource shared by

Dio Comms Team

Published on

April 16, 2024

The National Liturgy Office has provided the following resources for parishes to use to help aid their preparations for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

More resources are available on their website.

Christian Unity must be rooted in Prayer

 Praying, walking, and working together is highlighted each year as Christians around the world celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (WPCU). For us in the southern hemisphere in Aotearoa New Zealand we celebrate the week of 12-19 May 2024 (traditionally held 18-25 January in the northern hemisphere.) During this time, we join Christian churches and communities of all denominations to celebrate the faith we share in Christ – and to pray that we may be instruments of his great love throughout the world.

 The theme for this year’s WPCU is: ‘You shall love the Lord your God… and your neighbour as yourself’.  It focuses on the parable of the Good Samaritan, and Jesus’ call to see all humanity as our neighbours. The parable is one of the best known passages of Scripture, yet one that never seems to lose its power to challenge indifference to suffering and to inspire solidarity. It is a story about crossing boundaries that calls our attention to the bonds that unite the whole human family.

 Christians are called to act like Christ in loving like the Good Samaritan, showing mercy and compassion to those in need, regardless of their religious, ethnic or social identity. It is not shared identities that should prompt us to come to the aid of the other, but love of our ‘neighbour’. However, the vision of love of neighbour that Jesus puts before us is under strain in the world today. Wars, inequality, and imbalances in international relations are some of the factors inhibiting our capacity to love like Christ.

 The prayers and reflections for this year’s Week of Prayer were prepared by an ecumenical group of Christians in Burkina Faso, which has been “experiencing a serious security crisis” since 2016. Christians have been the target of jihadist terrorist attacks, and hundreds of churches have been forced to close. Today’s situation has prompted Christian communities not only to pray for peace, but to work together to care for people displaced by the fighting and to promote Christian-Muslim dialogue.

 The Catholic Church has been taking part in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity for over 50 years. Now more than ever, the world needs us all to come together in unity and share a message of love and inclusion to all of our neighbours around the world. 

Jesus prayed that his followers would all be one (Jn 17:21), and so Christians cannot lose hope or stop praying and working for unity. Let us make this Week dedicated towards Christian Unity, one that is rooted in prayer.

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