WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY
JANUARY 18–25, 2020
They Showed Us Unusual Kindness
(cf. Acts 28:2)
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2020 Theme Announced
By: Fr. Thomas Orians, SA
Associate Director – Graymoor
Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute
The 2020 theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has been selected. “They Showed Us Unusual Kindness” (cf. Acts 28:2). Annually, leaders of faith communities throughout the world gather together to arrive at the theme for the annual celebration of Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This year the theme finds its origins in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 27:18 – 28:10). The initial work on the theme for this year was prepared by a group of representatives from the Christian Churches in Malta. Representatives of the Roman Catholic Episcopal Conference and members of Christians Together in Malta were gathered together to prepare the working draft of the materials. The texts were finalized during a meeting of the International Committee of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The members of the Committee joined with representatives of the Churches of Malta in September of 2018.
Fr. James Loughran, SA, Director of the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute noted that “as we gather annually throughout the world to pray for the unity of Christians we are reminded of the importance of need for “unusual kindness” in the dialogue the leads to growth in unity. We do this in a world where separation and division hinder the quest for Christian Unity. In 2020, we are being called to show unusual kindness towards one another.”
During the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Churches of all faiths are called together to form a vibrant and prayerful witness for Christian Unity by heeding Jesus’s prayer “that they all may be one.”
Fr. Tom Orians, SA, Associate Director of the Ecumenical Institute, noted that in choosing the theme for 2020, the Christians of Malta found that, as Paul recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, it was it is through their unusual kindness that a divided people were drawn closer together (cf. Acts 27:18 – 28:10).
The traditional period in the northern hemisphere for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is January 18-25. Those dates were proposed in 1908 by Servant of God, Fr. Paul Wattson, SA, Founder of the Society of the Atonement, to cover the original days of the feasts of the Chair of St. Peter (January 18) and the Conversion of St. Paul (January 25), and therefore have a symbolic significance. Materials for the celebration of the Week of Prayer For Christian Unity in 2020 will be available from the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute at a later date.