Week of Prayer for Christian Unity at the heart of ecumenism

Pope Francis and other Christian leaders on Friday inaugurate the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
with the celebration of evening Vespers in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.

The joint celebration that kicks off the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is a powerful symbol of unity
and of the recognition that Christian denominations are on the path to unity and getting closer in doctrine.

The Week of Prayer, traditionally observed from 18 to 25 January, unfolds this year on the theme
Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue” inspired by Deuteronomy.

Pope Francis looked ahead to the Week of Prayer during the Wednesday General Audience saying that “Again,
this year we are called to pray so that all Christians may once again be a single family, according to
God’s will ‘so that they may all be one’”.

He pointed out that “ecumenism is not something optional” and said it aims “to develop a common and
consistent witness that promotes true justice and support for the weakest through responses that are concrete,
appropriate and effective”.

Participating in Vespers at St. Paul’s Outside the Walls are also many faith-based groups that have made
ecumenism an important part of their mission. Amongst them, the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey,
with 29 students from across the Christian spectrum and from across the globe
.

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 Vatican releases details on Protection of Minors Meeting

The Director ad interim of the Holy See Press Office on Wednesday provided journalists with further information regarding "The protection of minors in the Church" Meeting, to be held in the Vatican from 21 to 24 February 2019.

The Organizing Committee of the Meeting gathered in Rome on Thursday 10 January. Afterwards, the Holy Father received in audience the members of the Committee, who updated him on preparations for the Meeting.

The February Meeting will see Presidents of Bishops’ Conference from all over the world coming together to discuss, as the title indicates, “the protection of minors in the Church”. According to the Vatican Press Office communiqué, the Meeting will include plenary sessions, working groups, moments of common prayer, listening to testimonies, a penitential liturgy, and a final Eucharistic celebration.

Pope Francis has assured he will be present for the entire duration of the Meeting, and has entrusted Fr. Federico Lombardi SJ, with the task of moderating the Plenary sessions.

Following the publication of the communiqué, the Director ad interim of the Holy See Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti, issued the following communication:

“The February Meeting on the protection of minors has a concrete purpose: the goal is that all of the Bishops clearly understand what they need to do to prevent and combat the worldwide problem of the sexual abuse of minors. Pope Francis knows that a global problem can only be resolved with a global response. The Pope wants it to be an assembly of Pastors, not an academic conference – a meeting characterized by prayer and discernment, a catechetical and working gathering."

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