Pope introduces Week of Christian Unity

 Yesterday, Pope John Paul, addressing the faithful gathered in St Peter's Square below his apartment window before praying the Angelus with them, noted that the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity had begun. This is celebrated each year from January 18 to 25, except, as the Pope said, in the southern hemisphere where it is celebrated near Pentecost. "This year," he explained, "the theme is 'A treasure as in earthen vessels', taken from St Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians. In our hearts gleams the awareness of divine glory which shines brightly on the face of Christ; we, however, carry this treasure 'in earthen vessels', that is, in the fragility of our human condition so that 'it appears that the extraordinary power comes from God and not from us'." The Holy Father stated that the day's reflections for the week of prayer for unity come from the same text of St. Paul and say: "'We are afflicted in every way but not crushed'. Yes, we are oppressed by divisions and there are many barriers which still separate us! But we are not crushed because the Lord's glory, which shines on us, continues to lead us to purification and reciprocal pardon and infuses light and strength on the prayer that together we raise to God so that He will heal the wounds of our division." The Pope reminded the faithful that on January 25 he will close the week of prayer by presiding at the celebration of vespers in the basilica of St Paul's Outside-the-Walls. source: Vatican Information Service

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