There are two important events this week :
This Sunday we are asked to pray for peace.
Every year since 1968, each Pope has issued a Message for the World Day of Peace on January 1st (the very beginning of each year) reminding us all of the centrality of peace building, and reconciliation to our Catholic faith. Pope Francis has released his message for this year’s World Day of Peace on the theme ‘Dialogue Between Generations, Education and Work: Tools for Building Lasting Peace’.
The bishops of England and Wales have always designated the second Sunday of Ordinary Time (today) as the Sunday when we are encouraged to publicise and promote the Pope’s Message.
This year’s Message focuses on the importance of the different generations – the young and the old – working together to build lasting peace – working together in dialogue and action. It is a timely and relevant message in view of the increasing divide between the culture and life of young people and those of us who are old/er. As Pope Francis says,
“Young people need the wisdom and experience of the elderly while those who are older need the support, affection, creativity and dynamism of the young. Great social challenges” – and we are so aware of these at this time – “and peace processes necessarily call for dialogue between the keepers of memory – the elderly – and those who move history forward – the young.”
There are prayer cards at the back of the Church, and if you wish to donate to the work of Pax Christi there are some envelopes available. I have also printed off some copies of the full text of the Pope’s Letter. You can find out more information on the Pax Christi website.
The second important event begins on Tuesday, 18th January, which is the beginning of a Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
This is are opportunity to join with many faithful from Christian denominations around the world praying for real and lasting unity. The theme for 2022 is ‘We Saw the Star in the East, and We Came to Worship Him.’
The story of the Magi visiting the Holy Family in Bethlehem is a very familiar one. The Magi have sometimes been seen as a symbol of the world’s diversity – different religions and cultures – that come to pay homage to the Christ-child. The story might therefore represent the unity of all created that God desires.
The materials for WPCU 2022 has been prepared by the churches of the Middle East, the history of which was (and still is) characterised by conflict and strife, tainted with blood and darkened by injustice and oppression. The Christians of the Middle East offer these resources conscious that the world shares many of the travails, and much of the difficulties, that it experiences, and yearns for a light to lead the way to the Saviour who is the light that overcomes darkness.
You are able to look at the resources for the week that ends on 25th January with the Conversion of St Paul here.
We will be ending the week of prayer on Tuesday, 25th January, with a Taizé Evening at 7:30pm at St Thomas’s.