The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins on Wednesday 18 January and continues until 25 January.
The theme this year is “Belonging: Praying for Unity amidst Injustice”. Following dialogue between the Holy See’s Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity and the World Council of Churches, the resources for this year have been compiled by the churches in Minneapolis. They seek to challenge us in how we witness to Christian Unity in the midst of turmoil and racism in our world.
Here in Ireland, this year of 2023 marks two important anniversaries of key events of the journey towards Christian Unity. This year is the centenary of the formation of the Irish Council of Churches and it also marks the 50th anniversary of the Ballymascanlon Meetings between the Catholic Church and other Christian Churches on the island of Ireland in 1973, a structure that is now the Irish Inter-Church Meeting.
Today, these are the bodies for inter-church dialogue in Ireland as we continue to work together for peace, reconciliation and social justice. As we know, that work is unfinished; sectarianism is still, sadly, a major problem in communities and political life in the north while the growth of racism is increasingly evident across the island. The current cost of living crisis and the effects of the war in Ukraine add to this turmoil.
It is in this context that we mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity this year- giving thanks for the progress made by the Churches at various levels over the decades but seeking to place our continuing journey of witness to Christ’s desire for unity alongside his radical call to discipleship and social justice.
Please find attached a hard copy of the resources. Further resources can be found on the ICC website Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2023 – Irish Council of Churches and Irish Inter Church Meeting (irishchurches.org)
So let us journey onwards with a reconciling vision of hope, singing together an anthem of “be-longing”: “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:5-6).” Amen.
Address by Archbishop Eamon at St Annes Cathedral Belfast