The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, traditionally celebrated every year from 18 to 25 January, begins today. The theme chosen for 2011 is: "One in the apostles' teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer" (cf. Acts 2:42).
The materials for the week of prayer and for the rest of 2011 have been jointly prepared by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches.
Each day of the Week will have a different theme:
18 January: The Church in Jerusalem.
19 January: Many Members in One Body.
20 January: Devotion to the Apostles' Teaching Unites Us.
21 January: Sharing, an Expression of Our Unity.
22 January: Breaking the Bread in Hope.
23 January: Empowered to Action in Prayer.
24 January: Living in Resurrection Faith.
25 January: Called for the Service of Reconciliation.
Although the traditional period for celebrating this week of prayer is the month of January, in the southern hemisphere this coincides with the holidays so Churches sometimes seek other periods such as, for example, around the time of Pentecost, which is also a symbolically significant date for the unity of the Church, and was suggested by the Faith and Order movement in 1926.
Throughout the week, events are being planned across the UK and Ireland. In Rome, in the basilica of St Paul's Outside-the-Walls at 5.30pm on Tuesday 25 January, Feast of the Conversion of the Apostle Paul, Benedict XVI will preside at the celebration of Vespers to mark the close of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
For resources and more information see: www.ctbi.org.uk/