On Thursday, January 26, a Prayer Service for Christian Unity was celebrated here at the Sacred Heart Home.Clergy in attendance were myself, Fr. Joe Weigman, chaplain of the Sacred Heart Home, Rev. Harold Black, minister of Trinity United Methodist Church here in Oregon and Mr. Ed Hostetter, the leader of a bible study group here at the Home.
The international theme for the 2012 Week of Christian Unity (chosen by the World Council of Churches) was, “We Will All Be Changed By the Victory of Our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:51-8). St. Paul spoke of the temporary nature of our present lives, in comparison to what we receive through the victory of Christ through the Paschal mystery.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity invites the whole Christian community throughout the world to pray in communion with the prayer of Jesus “that they all may be one” (John 17:21). In 1966, the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches and the Vatican Secretariat (now Council) for Promoting Christian Unity, began collaborating on a common international text for worldwide usage. Since 1968, these international texts, which are based on themes proposed by ecumenical groups around the world, have been developed, adapted and published for use in the United States.
The Catholic Church’s participation in the ecumenical movement was launched by the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). Christ founded one Church, and one Church only. All Christian communions profess to be followers of the Lord, but differ in mind, and sometimes go their different ways, “as if Christ Himself were divided. Such division,” says the Decree on Ecumenism, “openly contradicts the will of Christ, scandalizes the world, and damages the holy cause of preaching the Gospel to every creature.” The separated Churches and Communities (though believed by the Catholic Church to be deficient in some respects) have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation.
Following in the tradition of Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI declared his commitment to the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism. He has also stressed, however (perhaps more than his predecessor), the need for continuity with Catholic doctrine.He doesn’t want ecumenism to become a break from the 2,000-year Church tradition.
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