The 2023 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity runs from Wednesday 18 January until 25 January. The theme this year is “Belonging: Praying for Unity amidst Injustice”. Following dialogue between the Holy See’s Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity and the World Council of Churches, the resources for this year have been compiled by the churches in Minneapolis, the city where George Floyd was murdered by a police officer in May 2020. This year’s theme seeks to challenge Christians as to how we witness to Christian Unity in the midst of turmoil and racism in our world.
This year in Ireland we mark two important anniversaries of key events of the journey towards Christian Unity. 2023 is the centenary of the formation of the Irish Council of Churches and also marks the 50th anniversary of the Ballymascanlon Meetings between the Catholic Church and other Christian Churches on the island of Ireland in 1973, a structure that is now the Irish Inter-Church Meeting. Today, these are the bodies for inter-church dialogue in Ireland as we continue to work together for peace, reconciliation and social justice. While that work is unfinished; sectarianism is still, sadly, a major problem in communities and political life in the North while the growth of racism is increasingly evident across the island.
The current cost of living crisis and the effects of the war in Ukraine add to the turmoil. It is in this context that the Christian Churches mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity while giving thanks for the progress made at various levels over the decades, the Churches are continuing to seek to place our continuing journey of witness to Christ’s desire for unity alongside His radical call to discipleship and social justice.
Resources for the Week of Prayer for Unity 2023 can be found on the website of the Irish Council for Churches Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2023 – Irish Council of Churches and Irish Inter Church Meeting (irishchurches.org)