Week for Christian Unity, ecumenical vigil in San Gaspar del Búfalo

Monsignor Lamba: in these war scenarios, speaking of the love of God is neither a utopia nor a wish, but a “commandment” that saves

Love for God and others will be at the center of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2024, which will have as its theme “Love the Lord your God… and love your neighbor as yourself” (Lk 10 ,27) and will be held from January 18 to 25. On this last date, Solemnity of the Conversion of Saint Paul, at 5:30 p.m., in the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, Pope Francis will conclude the Week with the celebration of Vespers. Among the various events scheduled, reads a statement from the Vicariate of Rome, the diocesan ecumenical vigil will be central, on Friday, January 19, at 7 p.m., in the parish of San Gaspare del Bufalo, in which representatives of the various confessions present in Rome. It will be presided over by Monsignor Riccardo Lamba, diocesan delegate for Ecumenism and interreligious dialogue, while the homily will be given by Pastor Micheal Jonas, of the Lutheran Church of Rome. The entertainment will be provided by the Orthodox, Romanian, Methodist, and Waldensian choirs, DecimaQuinta and San Gaspare del Bufalo.

Ecumenical initiatives

During the Week there will be several initiatives organized by parishes and communities with an ecumenical theme. Among the many, in the parish of God the Merciful Father, on Thursday the 18th at 8:30 p.m. a vigil of the XVI prefecture will take place, in which the parish priest Andrea Aprile, of the Baptist church of Via del Grano, will intervene. On Tuesday, January 23, at 7:00 p.m., there will be a parish ecumenical prayer at Saint Mary of the Angels and Martyrs, in the nearby Methodist church on Via XX Settembre. As is tradition, mass will be solemnly celebrated in the various Catholic rites of the East and West at the Ecumenical Eucharistic Center of Saint Mary, on Via Lata of the Daughters of the Church, starting at 8 p.m.; The various Pontifical Colleges present in Rome will also participate.

Solidarity with Burkina Faso

The grant for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2024 has been prepared by a local ecumenical group in Burkina Faso, coordinated by the local community of Chemin Neuf (Ccn). In particular, brothers and sisters of the Catholic Archdiocese of Ouagadougou, Protestant Churches, ecumenical organizations and the Ccn of Burkina Faso participated in the drafting of the text. Since 2016, the African country has been going through a serious crisis that affects all religious communities. Terrorist attacks, which have caused more than three thousand deaths and almost two million internally displaced people, “while thousands of schools, health centers, town halls have been closed,” the subsidy reads, “and a large part of the socioeconomic and have been destroyed. Christian churches, in particular, have been the target of armed attacks: priests, pastors and catechists have been murdered; many remain in the hands of kidnappers. More than 22% of the country’s territory is outside the control of the authorities, and in these contexts Christians can no longer practice their faith openly.

Lamba: The love of God is not a desire, but a commandment

“In light of the tragic war events that take place in so many scenarios, from which no continent is spared and which also involve Christians against other Christians – reflects Monsignor Lamba, diocesan delegate for Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue -, it seems increasingly urgent to emphasize that love for God and one’s brothers is not a wish or a utopian project, but a true ‘commandment’, practicable only to the extent that each disciple of Jesus Christ, on a continuous path of conversion, and each Christian community, allow themselves to be purified by the Love of God to be increasingly capable of loving like Jesus”.

Gnavi: a tradition that is not taken for granted

Monsignor Marco Gnavi, head of the diocesan Office for Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue, is along the same lines: “The Week of Prayer is already a tradition of the Churches and ecclesial communities – he observes – but it is never taken for granted. , precisely because the pressures towards division, given the contexts and international conflicts, are such that each gesture of prayer, each step towards unity takes on greater value.” The chosen theme is “at the very root of our being Christians, since – he continued – it is the two commandments of love for God and neighbor that personify all our options and are proposed again in this today of ours, wounded and complicated, as a simple, direct and possible way”.