Vatican to hold Ecumenical Prayer Vigil in September

After the Angelus prayer on Sunday, 15, Pope Francis highlighted the importance of prayer for Christian unity and announced the Ecumenical Prayer Vigil, which will take place on September 30, inviting “brothers and sisters of all Christian confessions to participate in this gathering of the People of God.”

Newsroom (January 17, 2023, 10:20 AM, Gaudium Press) After the Angelus prayer on Sunday, January 15, Pope Francis spoke about the importance of the ecumenical journey for the synodal conversion of the Church, recalling the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in the Northern Hemisphere, which will take place from January 18 to 25, and announced the holding of the Ecumenical Prayer Vigil on September 30 in St. Peter’s Square.

“Learn to do good, seek justice.” This will be the theme of the Week of Prayer, taken from the prophet Isaiah. In the Southern Hemisphere, churches generally celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity around Pentecost.

The pope urged the faithful to gratitude: “Let us thank the Lord who with faithfulness and patience leads his people to full communion, and let us ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten and sustain us with his gifts.” He then stressed that “the path to Christian unity and the path of the synodal conversion of the Church are linked.

Ecumenical Prayer Vigil: making room for others

The pontiff took the opportunity to announce that on September 30 there will be an Ecumenical Prayer Vigil in St. Peter’s Square, “with which we will entrust to God the work of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. From now on, I invite brothers and sisters of all Christian confessions to participate in this meeting of the People of God.” he pointed out, stressing that for the young people who will come to the Vigil there will be a special program throughout the weekend, organized by the Taizé Community.

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“Brothers and sisters, let us try to ask ourselves: are we capable of leaving space for others? Of listening to them, of leaving them free, of not linking them to us by asking for recognition? Even to let them speak, sometimes. Not saying: “But you don’t know anything! Let them speak, give space to others. Do we attract others to Jesus or to ourselves? And again, following John’s example: do we know how to rejoice that people undertake their own path and follow his call, even if it means a little detachment from us? Do we rejoice in their accomplishments, sincerely and without envy? This means letting others grow. May Mary, the servant of the Lord, help us to free ourselves from attachments, to make room for the Lord and for others.”

Francis greeted the Spanish faithful from Murcia and those from Sciacca, Sicily, wishing that “their visit to the tomb of Peter will strengthen their faith and their witness.” He then asked people not to forget the “martyred Ukrainian people, who suffer so much! Let us stay close to them with our feelings, with our help and with our prayer. The Pope concluded his statement by asking everyone not to forget to pray for him.

Compiled by Zephania Gangl

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