It was an Anglican pastor who started what is now known as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, parishioners of the Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea learnt recently.
Rev Paul Wattson started the Church Unity Octave in 1908 in New York state, with the support of Anglican and Catholic bishops, Fr John Joseph Fenelon told parishioners on Jan 18, the start of the Christian unity week.
The Anglican pastor later became Catholic and was ordained to the priesthood in 1910.
Fr Fenelon was speaking at a special service to pray for the unity of all Christian Churches.
It included the exhortations of Jesus and St Paul on unity within the Church, readings from Vatican II documents on ecumenism, a Gospel reading and songs.
“With non-Catholic Christians,” said Fr Fenelon, reading from a Vatican II document, Unitatis Redintegratio (Decree on Ecumenism), “Catholics must enter into a respectful dialogue of charity and truth, a dialogue which is not only an exchange of ideas, but also of gifts, in order that the fullness of the means of salvation can be offered to one’s partners in dialogue.”
Parishioners also prayed “that more and more Catholics will be able to explain the Catholic faith more profoundly and precisely, in ways and terms that” other Christians can understand and appreciate
By Mary Lee