This week (18-25 January) has been observed as the International Week of Prayer for Christian Unity for over one hundred years. This year’s theme is, “Has Christ Divided Us?” (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:13). As we pray together for Christian unity, we remember that we are all united in Christ through baptism and in our desire to grow in intimate relationship with the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. May our hearts truly be united in love for God and one another this week.
These intentions can be found on www.catholicworldreport.com along with a link to the semi-official intentions drafted by the Canadians who were responsible for compiling the materials for WPCU 2014.
The following intentions are more reflective of current issues in Christian unity, especially those pertaining to the ancient Churches and the conflicts of the Middle East. They are prayers that have been adapted from the Litany of Peace of the Greek tradition. You are invited to pray them this week or use them to write your own petitions - “That they may be one” (John 17:21).
· For the humility to turn our hearts and minds to God on high and ask him for peace and unity through the forgiveness of our sins and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord. Lord have mercy.
· For the strengthening of the holy churches of God throughout the world and for their unity in faith, hope, and love, let us pray to the Lord. Lord have mercy.
· For our local churches and for all the faithful who gather in our local Christian community, may our prayers be filled with faith, reverence, and the worship of God, let us pray to the Lord. Lord have mercy.
· For all Christian leaders, that they may grow in wisdom and fraternal charity as they work together for unity of faith, the healing of wounds caused by past divisions, and for Eucharistic communion, let us pray to the Lord. Lord have mercy.
This past year marked the 1025th anniversary of the Christianization of Ukraine and Russia. We pray especially for the Churches in Ukraine and Russia. For a peaceful resolution to ongoing conflict between Christians in those countries, that their relations may be marked by humility, charity, understanding, and mutual forgiveness.
· For our governments, secular leaders, and armed forces, that they may be upheld in every good deed (and foiled in every evil purpose), let us pray to the Lord. Lord have mercy.
We pray especially for the countries of the Middle East, torn by war and violence; that the perpetrators of evil would be brought low and that those responsible for diplomatic resolution would be given grace and prudence to complete their task, heal political division, and restore order, let us pray to the Lord. Lord have mercy.
· For faithful Christians living in every city and countryside throughout the world, that our spiritual and material needs would be met for the good of our bodies and the sanctification of our souls, let us pray to the Lord. Lord have mercy.
· For all refugees, homeless, travelers, and pilgrims; for the forgotten, and the forsaken; for the sick, the lonely, the dying, the suffering, the abused, the captives, and the martyrs – for their consolation, protection, and salvation, let us pray to the Lord. Lord have mercy.
We remember especially Christian refugees fleeing persecution and the thousands of Christian martyrs throughout the world who gave their lives in courageous witness to Christ Jesus this past year. We give thanks to our Lord for their beautiful testimony of sacrificial love and recognize an ecumenism of blood between them. Lord have mercy.
· For our deliverance from all affliction, wrath, danger, and need; especially for all Christians living in environments hostile to Christianity, that we may be given the strength and courage to live the gospel faithfully, obeying the precepts of the Lord with zeal and joy, let us pray to the Lord. Lord have mercy.
· Help us, save us, have mercy on us and protect us, O God, by your grace! Lord have mercy!
· For all glory, honor, and worship are your due, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever. Amen.