The first missionary religious congregation for women in the history of the Church and the world is the Institute of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary founded in 1877 by BL. Mary of the Passion, now in the 139th year of its course.

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Invocation

Week of prayer for UNITY

 

WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY    JANUARY 18–25, 2017

 

Reconciliation –
The Love of Christ Compels Us(2 Corinthians 5:14-20)

    

The 2017 theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has been selected. On the occasion of the 500th anniversary year of the beginnings of the Reformation, the theme: "Reconciliation – The Love of Christ Compels Us" (2 Corinthians 5:14-20) has been chosen. The materials for the 2017 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has two accents: reflection upon the main concerns of the churches marked by Martin Luther's Reformation and secondly recognizing the pain of the subsequent deep divisions which afflicted the unity of the Church. In selecting this theme, it is viewed as an opportunity to take steps toward reconciliation.

 

For the coming year the theme finds its origins in Pope Francis' 2013 Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium ("The Joy of the Gospel") when it used the quote: "The Love of Christ Compels Us" (Paragraph 9). The theme finds its scriptural context in 2 Corinthians. 5:14). For 2017, it should be noted that this biblical text emphasizes that reconciliation is a gift from God, intended for the entire creation. "God was reconciling the world (kosmos) to God's self in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation" (v.19). As a result of God´s action, those who have been reconciled in Christ are called in turn to proclaim this reconciliation in word and deed: "The love of Christ compels us" 

Pope Francis stressed that Christian unity is an essential requirement of our faith, a journey of personal and community conversion to the will of Christ.

Unity, he insisted, is a gift from God and our task is to welcome that gift and make it visible to others. Rather than just a goal to be achieved, he said, we should see the search for unity as a journey that we undertake together with patience, determination, effort and commitment, knowing that all of us are sinners for whom God has infinite mercy. Remember, he said, that when we work, pray and serve the needy together, we are already united.

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