January 15, 2015
CLIFTON Throughout the diocese, parishes will be joining together with other Christian denominations to mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, an international Christian ecumenical observance, which will be celebrated from Jan. 18 to 25.
The observance began in 1908 as the Octave of Christian Unity, and focused on prayer for church unity. The January dates were specifically proposed by Graymoor Father Paul Wattson, co-founder of his order, to cover the days between the feasts of St. Peter and St. Paul and therefore have a symbolic significance to the celebration.
This year’s theme is “Jesus said, ‘Give me a drink,’ ” (Jn 4:7) when Jesus met with the Samaritan woman by the well. The theme and text for each year’s observance are chosen and prepared by representatives of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and representatives of the World Council of Churches.
Jim Milway, a parishioner at St. Kateri Tekakwitha in Sparta and a member of the Sparta Ecumenical Council, said, “With so many things going on in the world, it’s more important that ever that religions come and stand together in peace and unity. We are supposed to love our neighbor, help the poor and be for peace not war.”
The Sparta service will be held in St. Kateri Tekakwitha Church at 3 p.m., Sunday, Jan 18, followed by a social and networking gathering.
At Our Lady of the Holy Angels Church in Little Falls, the parish’s Justice and Peace Committee in conjunction with the Episcopal, First and Second Reformed and Methodist churches of Little Falls, organized this year’s event, which will be held Jan. 18 at 2:30 p.m. in the church. Msgr. Mark Condon, pastor of Holy Angels, will open the service with a welcome to all attending. Special music will be provided by the parish choir.
Also hosting a service is the Passaic Ecumenical Committee, which is comprised of 20 Passaic churches. Bishop Kurt Burnette of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic will be homilist for the annual prayer service at 3:30 p.m. Jan. 18 at the Hungarian Reformed Church in Passaic. An ecumenical choir will lead the congregation in song. Those attending are asked to bring non-perishable food items to be distributed to the needy of Passaic by the Salvation Army and United Passaic Organization Food Bank. There will be a social after the service.
Christian churches in Vernon Township in Sussex County will also gather together to pray and work for Christian Unity with an evening service during the week on Wednesday, Jan. 21 at 8 p.m. at the McAfee Bible Church.
Milway said, “The Christian Unity Service has always been a beautiful service. With today’s times, we all need to be more involved in peace, unity and brotherhood. I’m hopeful that together we can make it happen.”
By CECILE SAN AGUSTIN