WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY 2021

2021 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

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L: Leader
C: Congregation
R: Reader

Invitation to Prayer
Entrance Hymn
Word of Welcome

L: May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you always!

C: And also with you.

R1: Brothers and sisters in Christ, this year the theme of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, chosen by the sisters of the Community of Grandchamp in Switzerland, is: “Abide in my love... you shall bear much fruit.”

R2: It is the great desire of God, expressed by Jesus, that we might come to him and abide in him. He waits for us tirelessly, hoping that, united to him in love, we will bear fruit that will bring life to all. Faced with the difference of “the other”, we risk withdrawing into ourselves and seeing only that which separates us. But let us listen to how Christ calls us to abide in his love, and so bear much fruit.

R1: In the three moments of prayer that follow, we remember the call of Christ, we turn to his love, to him who is the center of our life. For the path of unity begins in our intimate relationship with God. Abiding in his love strengthens the desire to seek unity and reconciliation with others. God opens us up to those who are different from us. This is an important fruit, a gift of healing for the divisions within us, between us, and in the world.

L: In peace let us pray to the Lord: Lord, you are the vinedresser who cares for us with love. You call on us to see the beauty of each branch united to the vine, the beauty of each person. And yet, too often the differ- ences in others makes us afraid. We withdraw into ourselves. Our trust in you is forsaken. Enmity develops between us. Come and di- rect our hearts toward you once again. Grant us to live from your forgiveness so that we may be together and praise your name.

C: Amen.


Litany of Praise

C: You who call us to be praise in the midst of the earth: glory to you!

R1: We sing your praise in the midst of the world and among all peoples.

R2: We sing your praise in the midst of creation and among all creatures.

C: You who call us to be praise in the midst of the earth: glory to you!

R1: We sing your praise among suffering and tears.

R2: We sing your praise among promises and achievements.

C: You who call us to be praise in the midst of the earth: glory to you!

R1: We sing your praise in the places of conflict and misunderstanding.

R2: We sing your praise in the places of encounter and reconciliation.

C: You who call us to be praise in the midst of the earth: glory to you!

R1: We sing your praise in the midst of rifts and divisions.

R2: We sing your praise in the midst of life and death, the birth of a new heaven and a new earth.

C: You who call us to be praise in the midst of the earth: glory to you!


First Vigil

Abiding in Christ: The unity of the whole person

Psalm: 103

Reading: John 15:1-17

Hymn

Short Silence (Approximately 1 minute)


Intercessions

R: God of love, through Christ you said to us: “You did not choose me but I chose you.” You seek us, you invite us to receive your friendship and abide in it. Teach us to respond more deeply to this invitation, and grow in a life that is ever more complete.

C: The joy of our heart is in God.

R: God of life, you call us to be praise in the midst of the world and to welcome one another as a gift of your grace. May your loving gaze, which rests upon each person, open us to receive each other just as we are.

C: The joy of our heart is in God.

R: God who gathers, you knit us together as one vine in your Son Jesus. May your loving Spirit abide in us at parish meetings and local ecumenical gatherings. Grant that together we might celebrate you with joy.

C: The joy of our heart is in God.

R: God of the one vineyard, you call us to abide in your love in all we do and say. Touched by your goodness, grant us to be a reflection of that love in our homes and workplaces. May we pave the way for bridging rivalries and overcoming tensions.

C: The joy of our heart is in God.


Action: A time of silence

R: Very often we think of prayer as some- thing we do, an activity of our own. In this short time we are invited to an interior silence, and to turn aside from all the noise and concerns of our lives and thoughts. In this silence the action belongs to God. We are simply called to abide in God’s love, to rest in God.

Silence (Approximately 5 minutes)

Hymn


Second Vigil

The visible unity of Christians Psalm: 85

Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:10-13a

Hymn

Short Silence (Approximately 1 minute)


Intercessions

R: Holy Spirit, you create and re-create the Church in all places. Come and whis- per in our hearts the prayer which Jesus addressed to his Father on the eve of his passion: “that they may all be one...so that the world may believe.”

C: Lord have mercy.

R: Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace, light the fire of your love in us so that suspicions, con- tempt and misunderstanding cease in the Church. May the walls that separate us fall.

C: Lord have mercy.

R: Holy Spirit, Consoler of all, open our hearts to forgiveness and reconciliation and bring us back from our wanderings.

C: Lord have mercy.

R: Lord Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, give us poverty of spirit so that we may welcome the unexpectedness of your grace.

C: Lord have mercy.

R: Holy Spirit, you never abandon the men, women and children who are persecuted for their fidelity to the gospel. Give them strength and courage, and support those who help them.

C: Lord have mercy.


Action: Sharing a Sign of Peace

R: The Lord calls us to be united among ourselves. He gives us his peace and in- vites us to share it. Let us exchange a so- cially distanced sign of his peace with our neighbors.

Hymn


Third Vigil

The unity of all peoples and all creation Psalm: 96

Reading: Revelation 7:9-12

Hymn

Optional homily

Short Silence (Approximately 1 minute)


Intercessions

Inspired by a text of Dorotheus of Gaza

R: We are called to be ministers of God’s healing and reconciling love. This work can only be fruitful when we abide in God, as branches of the true vine which is Jesus Christ. As we come closer to God we draw closer to one another. Imagine a circle drawn on the ground. Imagine that this circle is the world.

The designated persons, carrying unlit candles, stand up and form a broad socially distanced circle around a central candle.

R: The center represents God, and the paths to the center are different ways people live. When people living in this world, desiring to draw closer to God, walk toward the center of the circle...

The persons take several steps toward the center, maintaining social distance.

R: ...to the extent that they move closer to the center, to God, the move closer to one another. And the closer they come to one another...

The persons move even closer to the center, maintaining social distance.

R: ...the closer they come to God.

Individually, the candle-bearers reach the center and one by one they light their candles. Moving back to their previously social-distanced spots they form a circle and all in the place keep a time of prayer in silence.


Short silence

(approximately 1 minute)


The Lord’s Prayer

L: With the words that Jesus taught us, let us now pray together:

C: Our Father...


Hymn

During the singing of the hymn, the candle- bearers return and share with the congre- gation the light they have received.

R: Spirituality and solidarity are insep- arably linked. Prayer and action belong together. When we abide in Christ, we receive the Spirit of courage and wisdom to act against all injustice and oppression. We say together:

C: Pray and work that God may reign. Throughout your day let the Word of God breathe life into work and rest. Maintain inner silence in all things so as to dwell in Christ. Be filled with the spirit of the Beatitudes: joy, simplicity, mercy.

These words are recited daily by the Sisters of the Grandchamp Community.


Blessing

L: Be one, so that the world may believe! Abide in God’s love, go into the world and bear the fruits of this love.

C: May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in faith, so that we may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Final Hymn