Jesus, Saviour of the world, fill us with your risen Joy.

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1 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Sunday January 17 th Sunday January 24 th, 2016 Theme: Called to proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord (cf. 1 Peter 2:9) Suggested Morning Announcements for our Catholic Schools Adapted from Resources Jointly prepared and published by The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and The Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches Tony Cosentino Renfrew County CDSB Monday January 18 th, 2016 Good morning. This is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity - a special week of prayer for oneness among Jesus followers throughout the world. During this week, we look to the example of Christians in Latvia. Many of them became martyrs for love of Jesus when they refused to follow the Nazis and Communists, who tried to make them turn their backs on their faith. The theme for this week is: Called to proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord, from the first letter of St. Peter chapter 2, verse 9. Here, Peter is telling his readers that by their Baptism, they are one with Jesus who is King and High Priest, the holy Son of God. He reminds them that they are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation called to tell everyone about the wonderful things God has done for them through Jesus. Many Latvian Christians did this very thing, and gave their lives as martyrs for love of Jesus. This morning s theme is, Let the stone be rolled away. Let us begin our prayer today in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. And let us listen to the words of the Gospel of Matthew: A reading from the Gospel of Matthew (Mt 1-3, 5-7a, 8-9) As the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. But the angel said to the women, Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, He has been raised from the dead. So they left the tomb quickly with fear and with great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly, Jesus met them and said, Greetings! And they came to him, took hold of his feet and worshipped him. The Gospel of the Lord, Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ Optional Reflection Question: How do you think the women felt when they saw the stone rolled away and met the risen Jesus? How does the way I treat others show that Jesus is alive in my life? (pause)

2 Let us pray: Lord Jesus, you have loved us from the beginning. You shared our sufferings and wounds as you gave up your life for us. We place everything that separates us from your love at the foot of your cross. Roll back the stones that keep us from living in your risen love. And help us live as truebrothers and sisters with all who follow you. And now, let us unite our voices in the prayer that Jesus taught us: And may Almighty God bless us: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Tuesday January 19 th, 2016 Good morning. Today is Tuesday in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. We continue to reflect on our call to proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord. The theme for today is, called to be messengers of joy. When communism ended, Christians in Latvia joyfully began to share their faith on national radio. They became messengers of joy; they encouraged Latvia s people with the Good News of Jesus, to heal and grow together after suffering for many years. Let us begin our prayer in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Let us listen to God s word. A reading from the Gospel of John (Jn 15, 9-12) Jesus said to his disciples, As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. The Gospel of the Lord, Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ Optional Reflection Question: Jesus planted his risen joy in my heart at Baptism. What is one thing I can do today to share this joy with someone else? (pause) 2

3 Let us pray: God of love, we desire to serve you, though we are small and imperfect. Fill the deepest longings of our hearts with your presence. Heal our broken hearts with your love so that we may love as you have loved us in Jesus. Grant us the gift of unity to serve you with one heart and mind. And help us to share your joyful message of love with wherever we go. This we ask in the name of your Risen Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. As God s children, let us pray with one voice, using the words that Jesus taught us: And may Almighty God bless us: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Wednesday January 20 th, 2016 Good morning. Today is Wednesday in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. We continue to reflect on our call to proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord. The theme for today is, the witness of fellowship. Christians in Latvia from different faith groups find great joy in their shared love for Jesus. They work, live and often pray together in fellowship, but also feel the pain of not being fully united in a shared Eucharist. Let us begin our prayer, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen And let us listen to God s word, as we hear Jesus prayer for unity among his followers the night before his death on the cross. A reading from the Gospel of John (Jn 17: 20-23) I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. The Gospel of the Lord, Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ. 3

4 Optional Reflection Question: How do I show Christ s love to persons who may not share the same faith I do? (pause) Let us pray, Lord Jesus, you prayed that we might all be one. We pray to you for the unity of all Christians according to your will. Renew in us your Spirit s gift of hope; transform us to see past the suffering and sin in our division, and to strive together for oneness in you. We make this prayer in the power of your holy Name. And let us conclude with the prayer all Christians share, using the words that Jesus taught us: And may Almighty God bless us: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Thursday January 21 st, 2016 Good morning. Today is Thursday in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. We continue to reflect on our call to proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord. The theme for today is, a priestly people, called to proclaim the Gospel. Christians in Latvia have come together as brothers and sisters in Christ to produce television shows that proclaim the Gospel of Jesus. Together, they are bringing hope and healing to hearts and lives wounded by atheist communism in their past. Let us begin, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. And now, let us listen to God s word: A Reading from the Gospel of Matthew (Mt 13: 3-9) And he told them many things in parables, saying: Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds feel on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen! The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ. 4

5 Optional Reflection Question: How do my actions and words help spread the Good News of Jesus? (pause) Let us pray, Lord Jesus, you said that everyone will know we are your disciples if there is love among us. Strengthen us by your grace, that we might work together in proclaiming your Good News in our words and lives, and come to full visible unity as your Church. We make this prayer in your name. Let us finish with the prayer to the God of our joy using the words that Jesus taught us. And may Almighty God bless us: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Friday January 22 nd, 2016 Good morning. Today is Friday in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Today, we conclude our reflection on our shared call to proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord. The theme for today is, hearts burning for unity. Christians in communist countries often have felt isolated from one another. They don t know who to trust, and live in fear. Latvian Christians have found great unity in their willingness to share and study the word of God together. Hearing the Good News of Jesus has ignited their hearts and helped them move from isolation and separation toward unity. Let us begin, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. A Reading from the Gospel of Luke (Lk 24: 13-21a, 25-39) Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, What are you discussing with each other while you walk along? They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these 5

6 days? He asked them, What things? They replied, The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Then he said to them, Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory? Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over. So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, Were not our hearts burning within us while he was taking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us? That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon! Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread. The Gospel of the Lord Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ. Optional Reflection Question: Unity starts in our hearts. It reaches out in love and sees the gift in the other. What can I say or do today to give someone hope and let them know they re not alone? (pause) Let us pray, Lord Jesus, you have made our hearts burn within us. Your Good News sends us back on the road towards our brothers and sisters, with the Gospel message on our lips. Help us to follow you in all things, knowing that your commands always give hope and unity to your people. We make this prayer in the power of your holy name. Let us pray, using the common prayer of all who follow Jesus: And may Almighty God bless us: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 6

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