The Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity is pleased to publish the texts for the Week of Prayer of Prayer for Christian Unity 2024. The traditional period in the northern hemisphere for the Week of Prayer is 18-25 January, whereas in the southern hemisphere, where January is frequently a vacation time, churches often celebrate the Week of Prayer around Pentecost. The theme of the 2024 Week of Prayer is based on a text from the Gospel of St Luke: “You shall love the Lord your God ... and your neighbour as yourself” (Luke 10:27). The preparation of the materials was entrusted to an ecumenical team from Burkina Faso facilitated by the local Chemin Neuf Community.
Representatives from the Catholic Archdiocese of Ouagadougou, Protestant Churches and local ecumenical bodies collaborated generously in drafting the prayers and reflections. The political and social situation in Burkina Faso is unstable and there are many threats to peace and social cohesion. Preparation of the texts for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity during such a precarious period in their country’s history helped the ecumenical drafting group to recognise that the love of Christ unites all Christians and is stronger than their divisions.
After the initial drafting process, an international team appointed jointly by the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity and the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches met in Rome, at Casa San Giuseppe di Cluny, which, since 2016, has been administered by the Chemin Neuf Community, the members of which make a special commitment to Christian unity. This international team worked with the local drafting group to review and finalise the materials. Unfortunately, the four members of the local group who were expected to take part in the meeting in Rome were unable to attend in person, but participated via video link.
The texts are published jointly by the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity and the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches. They are offered to Christians throughout the world on the understanding that, whenever possible, they will be adapted for use in local situations, taking account of local social and cultural contexts and liturgical and devotional practices. Such adaptation should ideally take place ecumenically. In places where ecumenical structures are not already in place for this work of adaptation, it is hoped that the need to adapt the texts will be a stimulus to creating such structures.