Tom Layden SJ, the new Province Coordinator of Ecumenism, has written to Jesuits and colleagues to mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity from 18-25 January. It is accompanied by a booklet from the churches of the Caribbean.
The theme for the week, ‘That All May Be Free’, emerges from the context of the Caribbean itself. The churches of that region recognise that the hand of God was active in ending slavery, and out of that liberation they hear God’s call to us all to unite in bringing to an end injustice in its many and diverse forms.
Referring to his work with Christians from Jamaica and Trinidad, Fr Layden says: “I have been impressed by their strong sense of justice, their ability to work well together across denominational boundaries and the joyful tone of their worship in which they appreciate plenty of singing”.
In the Opening Worship Service found in the booklet, the Caribbean Christians offer Exodus 15, a song of triumph over oppression, and the motif of the Week of Prayer. The material for each day raises contemporary issues such as human trafficking and modern-day slavery, addiction to pornography and drugs, the debt crisis, and the challenges on family life. In this material, reflections, prayers, suggestions for action, and songs are also made available.
Finally, Tom Layden SJ offers some suggestions for ways to participate in the Week:
• Remember the intentions of the Week in personal and communal prayer.
• Use some part of the order of service in the material provided (see bottom of page) 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.
The material from the churches of the Caribbean can be found here.