News Archives » Christian Unity
Special Release of Resources for the Week of Christian Unity January 8th, 2021
FOR RELEASE TO ALL OBLATES, OBLATE INSTITUTIONS, and OMIUSA WEB:
(Editor’s Note: This news release was sent out today (January 6) by Fr. Jim Brobst alerting the Oblate community (or Mazenodian Family) of resources available for the week of Christian Unity prepared by Fr. Harry Winter, OMI. Fr. Winter’s website, “Mission-Unity-Dialogue” may be accessed HERE)
January 6, traditional feast of the Epiphany, God’s Revelation to the Nations
For All Members of the Mazenodian Family:
Special thanks to Fr. Harry Winter, OMI, for generously drawing our focus to these resources for the upcoming week of Christian Unity. He has distilled for us some helpful resources for our own participation in this missionary endeavors, even though pandemic precautions prevent much in the way of ecumenical or interfaith gatherings in crowds.
Please review pp. 73-76 of our Oblate Prayer book, explaining the importance of the annual Church Unity Octave, or Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. I recommend especially the material for every parish and community published by the Vatican and the World Council of Churches, available from Graymoor: Click here. The theme this year is “Abide in My Love. . . . You Shall Bear Much Fruit”(Jn.15:1-17).
These materials include “Homily Notes, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day,” which this year is Monday, Jan. 18. There is no doubt this year, with the Black Lives Matter movement, is more important than ever as we continue to overcome the effects of slavery in the USA.
During the Week of Prayer, we pray with more Evangelical Protestants than ever. They are our allies as we approach the Jan. 31 March on Washington and elsewhere to combat the effects of the Roe vs Wade abortion decision. Will President Biden and Vice-President Harris back off from the controversial position of the Democratic Party on abortion?
You may enjoy the mini-course on Christian Unity represented by the attached “Ecumenical Vademecum.” Although it is addressed to bishops, it is clearly written for every Catholic and indeed every Christian. Do not let the 50 pages overwhelm you. These are actually the half pages which the Vatican uses for some documents, and the language is less technical than usual.
Pope Francis continues to promote a vital New Evangelization, using elements from Popes John Paul II and Benedict, and including his special emphasis on people on the fringes. He alerts us to the growing number of drop-out Catholics, and those belonging to no religion. As a help for each member of the Oblate Family, please consult perhaps monthly the province website Mission-Unity-Dialogue. You may access it in two ways, either going onto www.omiusa.org and clicking on Mission-Unity-Dialogue, the fifth item on the right “Looking for Something?” or directly using www.harrywinter.org.
Let us profit from this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
The document can also be downloaded at this link: Vademecum-EN.pdf (christianunity.va)
Rev. James P. Brobst, OMI
Vicar Provincial for Mission & Ministry
U.S. Province, Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate
How Do Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the Right to Life March Fit In? January 17th, 2020
Three Examples of Oblate Ecumenism during the Jan. 18-25, 2020 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
How Do Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the Right to Life March Fit In?
by Harry Winter, O.M.I.
Oblate School of Theology, San Antonio, TX
Oblate School of Theology’s commitment to Christian Unity continues to grow. On Jan. 24, at 7 pm, the Sankofa Institute (for African American Pastoral Leadership) will lead a Christian Unity Service. The guest preacher will be Dr. Jerry W. Dailey, from Macedonia Baptist Church, San Antonio, TX.
White Earth, MN
Although there will be no explicit actions for ecumenism in our six parishes of White Earth during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, due to the temporary absence of the Protestant minister who works with the Oblates, there continues to be great ecumenical activity. During last November, the Ojibwa community in Waubun held an autumn feast and fun day. United Church of Christ Pastor Anna Larson and Fr. John Cox, O.M.I. offered craft activities for the children.
When the Oblate national administration met at White Earth from Sept. 16-19, 2019, they saw that some of our main programs providing assistance (educational, social welfare, drug rehabilitation, employment opportunities and job training) require input from all the Christian Churches on the reservation. No one Church has the resources alone. Read the full article at OMIUSA.org.
Remembering Dr. King’s Legacy Promotes Christian Unity January 5th, 2017
Martin Luther King and the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
by Father Harry Winter, OMI
Although it began in 1908, the celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Jan. 18-25, took a jump following Vatican II (1962-65), and peaked about 1980. Then it began slowly to lessen in observance. Concern that the disunity among Christian Churches was hurting Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation efforts lessened. The bond between Ecumenism and Evangelization weakened.
Placing the observance of Martin Luther King’s birthday on the third Monday of January, sometimes right in the middle of the Week, and sometimes before it, as this year, seemed at first to be the final straw that made the Week of Christian Unity too difficult to observe. However, after a few years, the two organizations in the USA responsible for the Week (the Protestant/Eastern Orthodox National Council of Churches and the Catholic Graymoor Atonement/US Conference of Catholic Bishops) decided to draw up materials which would incorporate Dr. King’s birthday with the observance of the Week.
It became clear that Martin Luther King stood for civil rights for all, not just African-Americans. Native Americans and Hispanics especially began to see Dr. King as a champion of justice for everyone. Black Catholics, a minority within Catholicism, began to bond with the Black Churches such as the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Church Zion, the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, and black Baptist Churches.
All Christians began to remember that Catholic priests, religious men, and sisters, white Protestant ministers, and Jewish rabbis, marched proudly with Dr. King. When US Senator Jesse Helms distributed a 300 page document attempting to prove that Dr. King was associated with Communists, it was Catholic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan who called the document “a packet of filth,” threw it on the Senate floor, and stomped on it (see Wikipedia, Martin Luther King Birthday Observance).
On Sunday, Jan. 24, 1999, our superior general, Louis Lougen, was serving as the pastor of Holy Angels Church, Buffalo, NY, an Italian-American parish with a growing number of Hispanics. He had continued the membership of the parish in VOICE Buffalo, which membership his predecessor as pastor, Tony Rigoli, has begun. VOICE Buffalo continues to this day as an interfaith organization promoting social Justice in the Buffalo, NY area.
VOICE Buffalo held an Ecumenical Service of Worship at White Rock Missionary Baptist Church, 480 E. Utica Street, Buffalo, from 4-6 pm, and I accompanied Fr. Lougen to provide support for the lay representative from Holy Angels to VOICE, Owen Dussault. “Loud, joyful, jammed with 400 people…What an upbeat celebration after all the poorly attended events of the Week of Prayer,” I noted in my journal. The large African-American population of Buffalo was well represented at the service.
So the decision to promote materials for Martin Luther King’s birthday, as either a preparation for or part of the Week of Prayer seems to be revitalizing concern for Christian Unity. This year’s material also contain specific references to King’s namesake, Martin Luther, and the impetus given to Catholic-Lutheran relations by Pope Francis’ visit to Sweden last Oct. 31-Nov. 1 for the 500th anniversary of the posting of Luther’s theses
For more on the documents from the pope’s Sweden visit, go to Missionary Unity Dialogue’s website, www.harrywinter.org.
Remembering Dr. King and his legacy promotes Christian Unity; Christian Unity is needed to accomplish what he began.
To download materials for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which takes place from Jan. 18-25, visit USCCB’s website.