On Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

“A Foretaste of the Joy of Full Communion, at Least in Desire”

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 23, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address John Paul II gave today, before praying the midday Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

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1. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is being observed this week, which will conclude in Rome, as usual, with the celebration of vespers, on January 25, in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. I will unite myself spiritually to that liturgy, in which representatives from other Christian Churches and confessions will participate, and which will be presided over by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

2. I invite the Christian communities to live intensely this annual spiritual event, in which we have a foretaste, in a certain sense, of the joy of full communion, at least in desire, and unanimous invocation. In fact, one is ever more clearly aware that unity is, in the first place, a gift of God to be implored tirelessly in humility and truth.

3. May Mary Most Holy, Mother of the Church, help us to overcome every obstacle and to obtain this gift as soon as possible. From my heart I exhort all believers, especially young people, to prolong the ecumenical commitment during the whole year and to make themselves instruments and witnesses everywhere of the full communion invoked by Christ in the cenacle.

[After praying the Angelus the Holy Father added:]

Today we observe in Rome the Day of the Catholic School on the theme “Church, Family and School: Together to Educate.” Directors, teachers, parents and pupils of the Catholic schools of Rome, together with pastoral authorities of the diocese are present in St. Peter’s Square to renew this commitment. I express my affectionate and grateful greeting to them, with the hope that the precious service offered by Catholic schools will be ever more appreciated and supported by the ecclesial and civil communities.

I wish all a good Sunday.

[Translation by ZENIT]

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