“In order to unite with one another, we must love one another; in order to love one another, we must know one another; in order to know one another, we must go and meet one another.”
These words, known as the “Testament of Cardinal Mercier,” are the impetus for the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The week [actually an octave, eight days] has been celebrated continuously since 1894. However the week was a dream of many Christian leaders since the early years of the 19th century.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is now celebrated around the world in January.
2008 is the 100th anniversary of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in the U.S. In 1908, Rev. Paul Wattson, founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, suggested that the period between Jan. 18 and 25 be an octave of prayer for Christian unity. In this proposal, he was giving form to Pope Leo XIII’s 1894 call for an octave of prayer, and to earlier suggestions from the Lambeth conference and various others leaders. Wattson and the Friars observed the octave at Graymoor beginning in 1908, and championed the octave throughout the United States. In France, efforts to establish the octave were led by Fr. Paul Couturier beginning in the late 1920s.
The pastor and parishioners of St. Boniface Church, Springfield, cordially invite all area churches, their pastors and congregations, to join them for an informal pot-luck supper on Jan. 20 at 5 p.m. to mark the 100th anniversary of this international observance. All who attend are invited to bring a dish of food. For more information, please contact the parish office: 754-7473, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.