Christian unity is not optional: Pope

Pope Francis greets children dressed as the Three Kings during his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican yesterday (CNS/Paul Haring)

On the eve of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Pope Francis has reminded the faithful that “ecumenism is not something optional”. Source: Vatican News.

Speaking during the weekly General Audience yesterday, the Pope looked ahead to the annual Week of Prayer, which begins tomorrow and concludes on January 25.

“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 said.

Pointing out that “ecumenism is not something optional,” he 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”.

The annual “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity” is a time in which Christians are reminded of Jesus’ prayer for His disciples that “they may be one so that the world may believe” (John 17.21).

It is an occasion for Christians of different denominations to come together to pray for their unity and participate in special ecumenical celebrations and prayer services.

The theme in 2019, “Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue ...” is inspired by Deuteronomy 16:18-20.

During the General Audience, Pope Francis continued his series of talks on the Lord’s Prayer, reflecting on the Aramaic term, “Abba,” which Jesus uses to address God, the father, reports CNS.

The term “Abba,” the Pope said, “is something much more intimate and moving that simply calling God, ‘father',” It is an endearing term, somewhat like “dad,” “daddy” or “papa.”

Even though the Lord’s Prayer has been translated using the more formal term, “Father,” “we are invited to say, ‘papa,’ to have a rapport with God like a child with his or her papa.”

Whatever term used, it is meant to inspire and foster a feeling of love and warmth, he said, like a child would feel in the full embrace of a tender father.


Pope Francis: Christian Unity is not optional (Vatican News)

Lord’s Prayer is reaching out for father’s loving embrace, Pope says (CNS

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