Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation

Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate  United States Province

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Special Release of Resources for the Week of Christian Unity January 8th, 2021


(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.

 Admin Team

Fr. James Brobst, OMI

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 and clicking on Mission-Unity-Dialogue, the fifth item on the right “Looking for Something?” or directly using

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 (

Rev. James P. Brobst, OMI

 Vicar Provincial for Mission & Ministry

U.S. Province, Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate

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.


Fr. Harry Winter, OMI

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,

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.

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