This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the week of prayer for Christian Unity (January 15-22, 2012). Fr. James F. Loughran, S.A. writes for American Catholic, “It started in 1908, at Graymoor, in Garrison, New York, a small group of Franciscans in the Episcopal Church, led by Father Paul Wattson and Mother Lurana White—cofounders of the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Atonement—began the annual observance of a Church Unity Octave, eight days of prayer specifically for the “reunion” of the Church, from January 18 to 25.
It was the contention of their Society of the Atonement, and several other Anglicans, that the Church of England and all Anglicans (Episcopalians) should regain their Catholic identities and seek “reunion” of some kind with the Bishop of Rome. They felt that all the other churches, communities and denominations should pray for reunion with Rome, and, in turn, Rome should pray for these other Christians to seek reunion with her. The Society of the Atonement found its answer for unity with Rome by entering into full communion in 1909.”
Today the prayers for Christian Unity are shared among the Roman Catholics, Eastern and Orthodox Catholics, Protestants, and all Christian Faiths. It amazes me that there are now 38,000 denominations of Christians. I am not sure that Jesus had in mind that his church would have so many divisions. Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessor Blessed Pope John Paul II have began work to help unify the Christian Faiths.
I would urge you to consider signing a petition to ask all the Christian leaders agree on having Easter Celebrated on the same day on earth. This would show Christian Unity, and help heal the divisions among Christians. Thanks to Father Rodrick Vonhogen for turning my attention to this petition that can be signed at www.onedate.org
I am praying for more Christian Unity this year and years ahead, and I hope we all find Joy and Peace and a love of Christ together.