Rome: special services to mark Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

 The annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 18 to 25 January, will be celebrated by the international Benedictine community in the monastery adjoining the Basilica of St Paul's outside the Walls in Rome. The Benedictines have invited not only individuals of different confessions but also whole communities to take part in the daily 5pm solemn celebration of Vespers, to pray together for the gift of unity among all Christ's disciples. The first to come on Wednesday will be Anglicans from All Saints Anglican church in Via del Babuino, Rome led by the Rector Rev. Jonathan Boardman. Next Sunday 22 January St Paul's Choir, which sings only on very important occasions, will sing at the main Mass in the Basilica at 10.30am. On Monday 23 January, priests and faithful of Rumanian Orthodox rite parishes in Rome and Ostia will be present at Vespers. During the other five evenings the special guests will be Catholic communities and religious institutes especially engaged in ecumenical work from different parts of Rome. On Wednesday 25 January, the feast of the Conversion of St Paul, by way of solemn conclusion to the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Pope Benedict XVI, like his predecessor Pope John Paul II, will preside at Solemn Vespers at 5.30pm at the Altar of the Tomb of St Paul, in the presence of representatives of all different Christian communities in Rome. Source: Fides

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