Brasilia (Agenzia Fides) - In many Latin American Catholic communities the "Week of Prayer for Christian Unity" takes place on the days before or after Pentecost. The churches in Brazil celebrate it during the week of May 22-28. This year's theme of the initiative, which is being organized worldwide by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Ecumenical Council of Churches and, in Brazil, by the National Council of Christian Churches (CONIC), this year's theme is taken from the prophet Isaiah: "Learn to do good, seek justice" (Is 1:17).
The new President of the Episcopal Commission for Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue, Bishop Teodoro Mendes Tavares of Ponta de Pedras, emphasizes in a video addressed to all Churches of the Christian denominations and other Churches involved in the ecumenical movement and interreligious dialogue in Brazil that "ecumenism can only happen with the grace of God. It is the Holy Spirit, the soul of the Church, who unites our hearts". Unity can only arise from "reconciled" diversity. During this week "let us be united in one heart and one soul and pray for Christian unity, between the Churches, between people and all of humanity," he stresses.
In Argentina, the Week of Prayer takes place from Pentecost to the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity on the following Sunday. "Both events frame the intention of this week: to ask the Lord that, anointed by the same Holy Spirit, we try to be a reflection of trinitarian love, love in unity, love in diversity," underlines the Episcopal Commission for Ecumenism and Relations with Judaism, Islam and Religions. The text chosen to accompany this week, taken from the prophet Isaiah, "makes us aware that the life of faith must always be accompanied by a practice consistent with what we profess. The worship of God is empty if it is not accompanied by compassion and mercy". In order to shape the initiative in the congregations, texts for the prayer of the believers, a draft for a Bible prayer in a group or a personal prayer as well as prayer requests for prayer at a certain time of the day are offered in illustrative leaflets.
In Chile, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is observed from May 28th to June 4th. The National Commission for Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue of the Chilean Bishops' Conference has also invited the ecumenical brotherhoods of Valparaíso, Santiago and Concepción to launch initiatives to raise awareness of the importance of moving forward in ecumenical dialogue. In this context, the ecumenical brotherhoods, together with the respective ecumenical teams of the dioceses, organized various prayer events that were open to all interested parties.
The Episcopal Commission for Promoting Unity and Dialogue of the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, chaired by Bishop Edgar Aristizábal Quintero of Yopal, emphasizes in the working materials for the implementation of this week of action from May 28th to June 4th that Christians are guardians and are stewards of the common good in the world and must be promoters of justice: "Goodness and justice must be objectives and goals within our particular churches, among all churches and before society". Among the activities scheduled for this week is a virtual forum on Wednesday, May 31 on theological contributions to a pastoral ministry of reconciliation and peace, organized with the support of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Santo Tomás (USTA) and transmitted via the social networks of the Episcopal Conference. Meanwhile, on Saturday, June 3, an ecumenical celebration will take place in the “San Mateo” congregation of the German Evangelical Church in Bogotá. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 25/5/2023)
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