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‘Unusual Kindness’

Tom Layden SJ, Province Co-Ordinator for Ecumenism has asked, in a letter to Jesuits, friends, and colleagues, that they mark the 2020 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (19-25 January) in any way that is appropriate for them.

The theme for the week is ‘Unusual Kindness’, a phrase used in the Acts of the Apostles where St Paul, shipwrecked on the island of Malta, declares that ‘the natives showed us unusual kindness.’ (Acts 28:2).

The material for the 2020 week comes from the Christian Churches in Malta and Gozo. On 10 February many Christians in Malta and Gozo celebrate the Feast of the Shipwreck of St Paul remembering and giving thanks for the arrival of Christian faith on those islands. The reading from the Acts of the Apostles used for the feast is the text chosen for this year’s Week of Prayer.

Tom Layden suggests that Jesuits and colleagues might consider doing one of the following during the week:

  • Remember the intentions of the Week in personal and communal prayer.
  • Use some part of the order of service in the resources sent along with this letter in either personal or communal prayer.
  • Attend an ecumenical service for Christian Unity in your own area.
  • Attend a Sunday Service in a church of another tradition in your area.
  • Invite a Christian of another tradition to join a community or an apostolate for a brief time of shared prayer or for a meal.

Along with his letter which you can read here », Tom has enclosed the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity booklet which includes daily ecumenical worship services, guide notes for the services and some reflections on the importance of praying for unity. Bob Fyffe, General Secretary of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland writes in the booklet that “as we reflect and pray for Christian unity, we acknowledge the injury that we have caused, the pain that we carry, the baggage that we must jettison.” He says that we pray for Christian unity “as the place from which we can move forward in faith and in hope for the redemption of the world and the restoration of creation.