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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Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2008



The Church Unity Octave, a forerunner of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, was developed by Father Paul Wattson, SA, at Graymoor in Garrison, New York, and was first observed at Graymoor from January 18-25, 1908.

2008 is the 100th anniversary of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in the United States.

The theme this year is “Pray without Ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17).

Praying for unity is not an invention of the last century. Jesus himself prayed to the Father “that they all may be one”. In the midst of our divisions, Christians of all traditions have prayed with an awareness of their union with the prayer of Christ for the unity of all his disciples. Our own minds and hearts are shaped by prayer as we seek opportunities to translate that prayer into practice, the true test of its authenticity.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is a celebration of the breadth and diversity of the Christian Church.In essence, this time is emblematic of relationships that should exist and be nurtured continuously. For one hundred years Christians have set aside time to recognize our connections and honour the unity that exists amidst our real or perceived differences in the Body of Christ.

“Being as receptive as possible to the presence of Jesus in our midst requires that Christians learn to live an ‘ecumenism of life’ together, accompanying our theological search for unity. This means sharing and learning from each other’s spiritual traditions, customs and insights while working concretely together in the service of building up the kingdom of God on earth. It also means promoting a culture of interdependence as together we learn how to see the positive in the particularities of ecclesial belonging, ethnic community, history and jurisdiction that can so easily divide Christians. Being mindful of all we hold in common allows us to face more effectively those things which still divide us. An ecumenism of life entails common prayer, common witness, and common mission wherever possible, as we increasingly come to share in the life of the Holy Spirit together. It entails sharing the ordinary aspects of our lives with each other, so that we can increasingly recognize each other as sisters and brothers in Christ, welcoming in each other the very presence of Christ.”


"O God, holy and eternal Trinity, we pray for your Church in the world. Sanctify its life; renew its worship; empower its witness; heal its divisions; make visible its unity.

"Lead us, with all our brothers and sisters, towards communion in faith, life and witness, so that, united in one body by the one Spirit, we may together witness to the perfect unity of your love."

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