human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

Churches play a key role to overcome divisions

Our Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Caritas Europa joined ecumenical prayer in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity to stress the important role churches play in our society to overcome divisions, especially in the context of migration.

In the fourth week of January, Caritas Europa joined COMECE, Justice and Peace Europe, Conference of European Churches (CEC) and brothers from Taizé to pray together and reflect on our mission to bring peace and unity to the world.

The main celebration took place on 22 January, with the participation of Maria Nyman, Caritas Europa Secretary General, and representatives from our Institutional Development Unit. It started with an ecumenical prayer for unity at the European Parliament in Brussels. Afterwards, a Holy Mass was celebrated at COMECE’s headquarters followed by a reflection session.

The meetings were focused on praying for unity not only in the Church but also in the entire European society. At the centre of the reflections was a quotation from the book of Acts: “They showed us unusual kindness”, referring to the Maltese who welcomed the crew of the wrecked Roman ship which was carrying Saint Paul and others as prisoners to Rome, showing them all hospitality. This story should influence how we think about migration because only with open and hospitable hearts can we overcome the tensions that arise from this challenge.

Maria Hammershøy, Vice-President of Justice & Peace Europe and  Secretary General of Caritas Denmark in her reflection referred to the message of His Holiness Pope Francis on the 53rd World Day of Peace entitled “Peace as a journey of hope: dialogue, reconciliation and ecological conversion”. According to this message, to build unity, we must “pursue a genuine fraternity based on our common origin from God and exercised in dialogue and mutual trust”.

Brother Alois, Prior of the Taizé community, underlined the importance of youth engagement in integral ecology, which plays a crucial role in bringing reconciliation to the world. He noticed that young people are ready to act for our common home, while the older generation still struggles with admitting to their ecological sins.

Our main takeway: We need to let our hearts and attitudes be shaped by the hospitality that is shown in Scripture.

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Agnieszka Zarzynska

Institutional Development Officer
Caritas Europa

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