Preparation of Material for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2020

13-18 September 2018

19 Sep 2018

Preparation of material for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2020

An international group comprising representatives of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches met in Rabat (Malta) from 13-18 September to prepare the materials for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2020 together with a group of local drafters. The meeting was co-presided by Rev. Odair Pedroso Mateus, Director of the Faith and Order Commission, and by Fr. Anthony Currer of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The international group was hosted by the Episcopal Conference of Malta at the major Seminary of Archbishop Tal-Virtù (Rabat), where the working sessions took place. Before this meeting, the local drafting group convened by the President of “Christians Together in Malta” had met four times (12 February, 15 March, 20 April and 11 May 2018) to prepare a draft which was then discussed by the members of the international committee.

The theme chosen by the local group is "They treated us with rare humanity" (Acts 28:2) (provisional Italian title); the biblical passage on which all texts are focused is the shipwreck of Saint Paul in Malta (Acts 27:18 – 28:10). This text enabled the group to reflect on the faith of St. Paul in the divine providence and on the ecumenical virtue of hospitality. In addition to the need to be hospitable with other Christians, the group recognized the fact that Christians working together can do more to offer hospitality to the many migrants and refugees who today embark on journeys as dangerous as that of St Paul. In the liturgy and in the reflections for the prayer octave, further themes emerge: reconciliation, discernment, hope, trust, strength, hospitality, conversion and generosity.

During its stay in Malta, the group visited the cave of St. Paul in Rabat and the Bay of St. Paul, where it is believed that the shipwreck occurred. On Friday, September 14, participants were received at the Nunciature by the Apostolic Nuncio to Malta, H.E. Msgr. Alessandro D'Errico. The group was pleased and grateful also for the meeting with Archbishop Charles Scicluna.

Participants in the meeting:

International group

Rev. Father Martin Browne OSB (Catholic, Glenstal Abbey, Ireland); Ms Anne-Noëlle Clément (Catholic, Unité Chrétienne, Lyon, France); Rev. Peter Colwell (United Reformed Church, Deputy General Secretary, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, London, England); Rev. Anthony Currer (Catholic, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Rome); Pastor Bernd Densky (Free Churches in Germany, Freikirchlicher Referent der Arbeitsgemeinschaft Christlicher Kirchen in Deutschland, Frankfurt a.M., Germany); Dr. Ani Ghazaryan Drissi (Armenian Apostolic Church, Program Executive Faith and Order Secretariat, World Council of Churches, Geneva, Switzerland); Sr. Elizabeth Lim, RGS (Catholic, Good Shepherd Oasis, Singapore); Ms Hanne Lamparter (Protestant Church, Westphalia, Germany); Rev. Ester Pudjo Widiasih (Protestant, Program Executive for Spiritual Life, Ecumenical Council of Churches, Geneva, Switzerland); Rev. Dr. Odair Pedroso Mateus (Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil, Director of Faith and Order, World Council of Churches, and Professor of Ecumenical Theology, Ecumenical Institute of Bossey, Geneva, Switzerland); Rev. Father James Puglisi, SA (Catholic, Director, Centro Pro Unione, Rome); Dr Clare Watkins (Catholic, Lecturer in Pastoral Theology, University Roehampton, London, England).

Local ecumenical group

Msgr. Prof. Hector Scerri (Catholic Church, President of "Christians Together in Malta" and President of the Diocesan Ecumenical Commission, Malta); Mrs Dorianne Buttigieg (Catholic Church, member of the Diocesan Ecumenical Commission, Malta); Ms Elizabeth Lochhead (Church of England, member of "Christians Together in Malta"); Rev. Father Aurelio Mulè Stagno, SDB (Catholic Church, member of the Diocesan Ecumenical Commission, Malta); Rev. Kim Hurst (Methodist Church, member of "Christians Together in Malta"); Msgr. Joseph Attard (Catholic Church, responsible for ecumenism of the Diocese of Gozo), and Dr Patricia Micallef (Catholic Church, coordinator of the "Taizé Group", Malta).