Ecumenical Relations

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

January 18 – 25

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is celebrated annually from January 18, the traditional Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, through January 25, the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. The observance is sponsored by the World Council of Churches and the Catholic Church’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. During this week-long celebration, and throughout the year, Christians are invited to gather with their Christian neighbors to join in prayer for Christian unity. Pentecost is also an appropriate time to plan an ecumenical prayer service.

Each year, Christian churches and communities from a different part of the world develop the theme and texts for the Week of Prayer. The 2021 theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity—“Abide in my love… you shall bear much fruit”—was prepared by the Monastic Community of Grandchamp, located in Switzerland.

“The theme, taken from the 15th chapter of the Gospel of St. John, expresses Grandchamp Community’s vocation to prayer, reconciliation and unity in the Church and the human family.  The text of the theme, ‘Abide in my love… you shall bear much fruit’, comes from a joining of phrases from John 15:9 and John 15:5….Here, Jesus reminds his disciples that he is the vine and we are the branches. If we abide in him, in Jesus and the Covenant made in his precious blood, we will be such a healthy branch as to bear much fruit….It can also point out, in these times of growing ecumenical witness, that the differing expressions of Christian faith are also branches which cannot live on their own and still authentically proclaim the Gospel to all creatures.” (Click here for more information.)

Resources

Please read a letter from Cardinal Cupich on the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. (PDF)

Click here for resources to plan and participate in the 2021 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Click here for a sample prayer service using materials provided by the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Unity, produced in this form by Ecumenism Metro Chicago, a group of representatives from Chicago-based Christian churches and organizations.

Click here to listen to a radio discussion of the 2021 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity with  Dr. Dan Olsen, Director of the Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the Archdiocese of Chicago, and Rev. Courtney Reid, Director of Operations and the Nicholas Center of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago.

On January 23, 7:00 p.m. (CST), join a virtual ecumenical prayer service for unity being sponsored by the Focolare Movement, St. Dorothy Parish, The Initiative, and University Bible Fellowship. Click here to learn more.