Events mark Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

BRAINTREE --The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has existed for a century and is present worldwide, but it will be dramatically different this year in Greater Boston.

From Jan. 18 to Jan. 25, UniteBoston will be coordinating a series of ecumenical events around the Greater Boston Area, all of which Catholics are invited to attend.

The anchor of the week will be a special gathering held at Holy Name Church in West Roxbury, Jan. 21 that will bring together faith leaders from throughout the region, marking the first time that the full spectrum of Christian families in the region will gather specifically in dedication to the unity Jesus prayed for. The event will be hosted by the Archdiocese of Boston in collaboration with the Institute for Christian Unity and co-sponsored by over 20 ministries.

It will begin with a luncheon at noon immediately followed by workshops on a variety of subjects, including Christian unity, evangelization, Pope Francis, racial reconciliation and Scripture. A worship and blessing service will be held at 2 p.m. with Orthodox, Protestant, Evangelical, Catholic and Pentecostal leaders, and the event will come to a close with a mission and volunteering opportunity fair and reception.

"Only full unity between us is enough. Only full unity is true to the nature of the Triune God as communion. Only full unity obeys the will of Jesus, and therefore loves Him. Only full unity is the goal set by our Church's teachings. Only full unity honors the bond of our Baptism and eternal relation in Christ. Only full unity is coherent with the message of the Gospel of reconciliation. Only full unity empowers our compassion and unfetters our evangelization." said Vito Nicastro, Associate Director of the Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the Archdiocese.

The full schedule of the week's ecumenical prayer services and sponsoring organizations is:

-- Wednesday, Jan. 18 -- 7 p.m. at River of Life Church, 440 Centre Street, Boston. Jamaica Plain Churches, including River of Life Church, Heart Change Fellowship, Bethel AME Church, and the Community of St. Egidio.

-- Thursday, Jan. 19 -- 7 p.m. at St. Mary Orthodox Church, 8 Inman Street, Cambridge. Orthodox Churches, including the Coptic Orthodox Church of Boston and St. Mary's Orthodox Church.

-- Friday, Jan. 20 -- 7 p.m. at Congregation Lion of Judah, 20 Reed Street, Boston. Pabellon de la Fe Church, Congregation Lion of Judah, and churches involved with Bless the City Boston.

-- Saturday, Jan 21 -- 12 to 4 p.m. at Holy Name Church, 1689 Centre Street, West Roxbury. "The Love of Christ Compels Us: To Witness and to Reconcile" hosted by the Archdiocese of Boston with over 20 co-sponsors.

-- Sunday, Jan. 22 -- 8pm at MIT Chapel, 48 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. Taize prayer in the MIT Chapel, including MIT Lutheran/Episcopal Ministry

-- Mon Jan 23 -- 7 p.m. at Symphony Church, 971 Commonwealth Ave. (3rd floor), Boston. Brookline/Brighton churches, including Symphony Church, City Church, and Abundant Grace Church.

-- Tues Jan 24 -- 7 p.m. at the Paulist Center, 5 Park Street, Boston. Catholic/Lutheran joint gathering, including the Paulist Center and University Lutheran.

-- Wed Jan 25 -- 5:45 p.m. at Trinity Church, 206 Clarendon Street, Boston. Episcopal Boston/ Cambridge Mission Hub gathering, including Trinity Church, Church of the Advent, and others.