Christian unity – Day 5

Let us Pray for Christian Unity

Day 5 - Strength: Breaking bread for the journey

Acts 27:33-36

“Just before daybreak, Paul urged all of them to take some food, saying, ‘Today is the fourteenth day that you have been in suspense and remaining without food, having eaten nothing. Therefore I urge you to take some food, for it will help you survive; for none of you will lose a hair from your heads.’After he had said this, he took bread; and giving thanks to God in the presence of all, he broke it and began to eat. Then all of them were encouraged and took food for themselves.”

Reflection

Paul’s invitation to eat is an exhortation to those in the boat to strengthen themselves for what lies ahead. This taking of bread marks a change of attitude, as those in the boat move from despair to courage. In a similar way the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper provides us with food for the journey and re-orientates us to life in God. We are made strong. The breaking of the bread – at the core of Christian community life and worship – builds us up as we commit ourselves to Christian service. We long for the day when all Christians will be able to share at the same table of the Lord’s Supper and draw strength from one bread and one cup.

Prayer
Loving God, your Son Jesus Christ
broke bread and shared the cup
with his friends on the eve of his passion.
May we grow together in closer communion.
Following the example of Paul and the early Christians,
give us strength to build bridges
of compassion, solidarity and harmony.
In the power of the Holy Spirit,
we ask this in the name of your Son,
who gives his life that we might live.
Amen.

Day 4 - Trust: Do not be afraid, believe

Acts 27:23-26

“For the last night there stood by me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before the emperor; and indeed, God has granted safety to all those who are sailing with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. But we will have to run aground on some island.”

Cette nuit même, en effet, un ange d
u
Dieu auquel j’appartiens et que je sers s’est présenté à moi et m’a dit
: ‘Sois
sans crainte, Paul
; il faut que tu comparaisses devant l’empereur et Dieu t’accorde aussi la vie de tous tes compagnons
de traversée
!’ Courage, donc, mes amis
! Je fais conf
iance à Dieu
: il en sera comme il m’a dit. Nous devons échouer
sur une île
».

Reflection

In the midst of the tempest Paul’s encouragement and hope contradicted the fear and despair of his fellow travellers. Our common call to be disciples of Jesus Christ entails being a sign of contradiction. In a world riven with anxieties, we are called to stand as witnesses to hope by placing our trust in God’s loving providence. Christian experience shows us that God writes straight on crooked lines, and we know, against all odds, we will not drown or be lost. Because God’s steadfast love endures for ever.

Prayer
Almighty God,
our personal suffering leads us to cry out in pain
and we shrink in fear when we experience sickness,
anxiety or the death of loved ones.
Teach us to trust you.
May the churches we belong to be signs of your providential care.
Make us true disciples of your Son
who taught us to listen to your word
and to serve one another.
In confidence we ask this in the name of your Son,
and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Day 3 - Hope: Paul’s message

Acts 27:22 ; 34

“I urge you now to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship… none of you will lose a hair from your heads…”

Reflection

As Christians belonging to churches and traditions that are not fully reconciled to one another, we are often discouraged by the lack of progress towards visible unity. Indeed, some have given up all hope and see this unity as an unattainable ideal. Others do noteven see unity as a necessary part of their Christian faith. As we pray for this gift of visible unity, let us do so with steadfast faith, enduring patience and expectant hope, trusting in God’s loving providence. Unity is the Lord’s prayer for the Church and he is accompanying us on this journey. We will not be lost.

Prayer
God of mercy,
lost and disheartened, we turn to you.
Instil in us your gift of hope.
May our churches hope and strive
for the unity for which your Son prayed
on the eve of his passion.
We ask this through him
who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.
Amen.

Day 2 - Enlightenment: Seeking and showing forth Christ’s light

Actes 27,20

“When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest raged, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.”

Reflection

Christ is our light and our guide. Without the light and guidance of Christ, we become disorientated. When Christians lose sight of Christ, they grow fearfuland divided from one another. Moreover many people of good will outside the Church are unable to see the light of Christ because in our Christian division we reflect Christ’s light less clearly or, at times, block it out completely. As we seek the light of Christ, we are drawn closer to one another, and so mirror this light more clearly, becoming truly a sign of Christ, the light of the world.

Prayer
God, your word is alight to our steps
and without you we are lost and disorientated.
Enlighten us so that, through your word,
we may walk your path.
May our churches crave your guiding,
consoling and transforming presence.
Give us the honesty we need to recognize
when we make it difficult for others to see your light,
and the grace we need to share your light with others.
We ask this in the name of your Son,
who calls us, his followers, to be light to the world.
Amen.

Day 1 - Reconciliation: Throwing the cargo overboard

Acts 27:18-19, 21

“We were being pounded by the storm so violently that on the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard and on the third day with their own hands they threw the ship’s tackle overboard… Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul thenstood up among them and said, ‘Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and thereby avoided this damage and loss’.”

Reflection

As Christians from different Churches and Traditions, we have unfortunately, over the centuries, accumulated abundantbaggage consisting of mutual distrust, bitterness and suspicion. We thank the Lord for the birth and the growth of the ecumenical movement over the past century. Our encounter with Christians from other traditions and our common prayer forChristian unity encourage us to seek mutual forgiveness, reconciliation and acceptance. We must not allow the baggage of our past to hinder us from drawing closer to one another. It is the Lord’s will that we let go, in order to let God!

Prayer
Forgiving God,
set us free from the painful memories of the past,
that wound our shared Christian life.
Lead us to reconciliation so that,
through the Holy Spirit,
we may overcome hatred with love,
anger with gentleness
and suspicion with trust.
We ask this in the name
of your beloved Son, our brother Jesus.
Amen.

Christian unity – Day 4

Let us Pray for Christian Unity

Day 4 - Trust: Do not be afraid, believe

Acts 27:23-26

“For the last night there stood by me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before the emperor; and indeed, God has granted safety to all those who are sailing with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. But we will have to run aground on some island.”

Cette nuit même, en effet, un ange d
u
Dieu auquel j’appartiens et que je sers s’est présenté à moi et m’a dit
: ‘Sois
sans crainte, Paul
; il faut que tu comparaisses devant l’empereur et Dieu t’accorde aussi la vie de tous tes compagnons
de traversée
!’ Courage, donc, mes amis
! Je fais conf
iance à Dieu
: il en sera comme il m’a dit. Nous devons échouer
sur une île
».

Reflection

In the midst of the tempest Paul’s encouragement and hope contradicted the fear and despair of his fellow travellers. Our common call to be disciples of Jesus Christ entails being a sign of contradiction. In a world riven with anxieties, we are called to stand as witnesses to hope by placing our trust in God’s loving providence. Christian experience shows us that God writes straight on crooked lines, and we know, against all odds, we will not drown or be lost. Because God’s steadfast love endures for ever.

Prayer
Almighty God,
our personal suffering leads us to cry out in pain
and we shrink in fear when we experience sickness,
anxiety or the death of loved ones.
Teach us to trust you.
May the churches we belong to be signs of your providential care.
Make us true disciples of your Son
who taught us to listen to your word
and to serve one another.
In confidence we ask this in the name of your Son,
and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Day 3 - Hope: Paul’s message

Acts 27:22 ; 34

“I urge you now to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship… none of you will lose a hair from your heads…”

Reflection

As Christians belonging to churches and traditions that are not fully reconciled to one another, we are often discouraged by the lack of progress towards visible unity. Indeed, some have given up all hope and see this unity as an unattainable ideal. Others do noteven see unity as a necessary part of their Christian faith. As we pray for this gift of visible unity, let us do so with steadfast faith, enduring patience and expectant hope, trusting in God’s loving providence. Unity is the Lord’s prayer for the Church and he is accompanying us on this journey. We will not be lost.

Prayer
God of mercy,
lost and disheartened, we turn to you.
Instil in us your gift of hope.
May our churches hope and strive
for the unity for which your Son prayed
on the eve of his passion.
We ask this through him
who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.
Amen.

Day 2 - Enlightenment: Seeking and showing forth Christ’s light

Actes 27,20

“When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest raged, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.”

Reflection

Christ is our light and our guide. Without the light and guidance of Christ, we become disorientated. When Christians lose sight of Christ, they grow fearfuland divided from one another. Moreover many people of good will outside the Church are unable to see the light of Christ because in our Christian division we reflect Christ’s light less clearly or, at times, block it out completely. As we seek the light of Christ, we are drawn closer to one another, and so mirror this light more clearly, becoming truly a sign of Christ, the light of the world.

Prayer
God, your word is alight to our steps
and without you we are lost and disorientated.
Enlighten us so that, through your word,
we may walk your path.
May our churches crave your guiding,
consoling and transforming presence.
Give us the honesty we need to recognize
when we make it difficult for others to see your light,
and the grace we need to share your light with others.
We ask this in the name of your Son,
who calls us, his followers, to be light to the world.
Amen.

Day 1 - Reconciliation: Throwing the cargo overboard

Acts 27:18-19, 21

“We were being pounded by the storm so violently that on the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard and on the third day with their own hands they threw the ship’s tackle overboard… Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul thenstood up among them and said, ‘Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and thereby avoided this damage and loss’.”

Reflection

As Christians from different Churches and Traditions, we have unfortunately, over the centuries, accumulated abundantbaggage consisting of mutual distrust, bitterness and suspicion. We thank the Lord for the birth and the growth of the ecumenical movement over the past century. Our encounter with Christians from other traditions and our common prayer forChristian unity encourage us to seek mutual forgiveness, reconciliation and acceptance. We must not allow the baggage of our past to hinder us from drawing closer to one another. It is the Lord’s will that we let go, in order to let God!

Prayer
Forgiving God,
set us free from the painful memories of the past,
that wound our shared Christian life.
Lead us to reconciliation so that,
through the Holy Spirit,
we may overcome hatred with love,
anger with gentleness
and suspicion with trust.
We ask this in the name
of your beloved Son, our brother Jesus.
Amen.

Christian unity – Day 3

Let us Pray for Christian Unity

Day 3 - Hope: Paul’s message

Acts 27:22 ; 34

“I urge you now to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship… none of you will lose a hair from your heads…”

Reflection

As Christians belonging to churches and traditions that are not fully reconciled to one another, we are often discouraged by the lack of progress towards visible unity. Indeed, some have given up all hope and see this unity as an unattainable ideal. Others do noteven see unity as a necessary part of their Christian faith. As we pray for this gift of visible unity, let us do so with steadfast faith, enduring patience and expectant hope, trusting in God’s loving providence. Unity is the Lord’s prayer for the Church and he is accompanying us on this journey. We will not be lost.

Prayer
God of mercy,
lost and disheartened, we turn to you.
Instil in us your gift of hope.
May our churches hope and strive
for the unity for which your Son prayed
on the eve of his passion.
We ask this through him
who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.
Amen.

Day 2 - Enlightenment: Seeking and showing forth Christ’s light

Actes 27,20

“When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest raged, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.”

Reflection

Christ is our light and our guide. Without the light and guidance of Christ, we become disorientated. When Christians lose sight of Christ, they grow fearfuland divided from one another. Moreover many people of good will outside the Church are unable to see the light of Christ because in our Christian division we reflect Christ’s light less clearly or, at times, block it out completely. As we seek the light of Christ, we are drawn closer to one another, and so mirror this light more clearly, becoming truly a sign of Christ, the light of the world.

Prayer
God, your word is alight to our steps
and without you we are lost and disorientated.
Enlighten us so that, through your word,
we may walk your path.
May our churches crave your guiding,
consoling and transforming presence.
Give us the honesty we need to recognize
when we make it difficult for others to see your light,
and the grace we need to share your light with others.
We ask this in the name of your Son,
who calls us, his followers, to be light to the world.
Amen.

Day 1 - Reconciliation: Throwing the cargo overboard

Acts 27:18-19, 21

“We were being pounded by the storm so violently that on the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard and on the third day with their own hands they threw the ship’s tackle overboard… Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul thenstood up among them and said, ‘Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and thereby avoided this damage and loss’.”

Reflection

As Christians from different Churches and Traditions, we have unfortunately, over the centuries, accumulated abundantbaggage consisting of mutual distrust, bitterness and suspicion. We thank the Lord for the birth and the growth of the ecumenical movement over the past century. Our encounter with Christians from other traditions and our common prayer forChristian unity encourage us to seek mutual forgiveness, reconciliation and acceptance. We must not allow the baggage of our past to hinder us from drawing closer to one another. It is the Lord’s will that we let go, in order to let God!

Prayer
Forgiving God,
set us free from the painful memories of the past,
that wound our shared Christian life.
Lead us to reconciliation so that,
through the Holy Spirit,
we may overcome hatred with love,
anger with gentleness
and suspicion with trust.
We ask this in the name
of your beloved Son, our brother Jesus.
Amen.

Christian unity – Day 2

Let us Pray for Christian Unity

Day 2 - Enlightenment: Seeking and showing forth Christ’s light

Actes 27:20

“When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest raged, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned.”

Reflection

Christ is our light and our guide. Without the light and guidance of Christ, we become disorientated. When Christians lose sight of Christ, they grow fearfuland divided from one another. Moreover many people of good will outside the Church are unable to see the light of Christ because in our Christian division we reflect Christ’s light less clearly or, at times, block it out completely. As we seek the light of Christ, we are drawn closer to one another, and so mirror this light more clearly, becoming truly a sign of Christ, the light of the world.

Prayer
God, your word is alight to our steps
and without you we are lost and disorientated.
Enlighten us so that, through your word,
we may walk your path.
May our churches crave your guiding,
consoling and transforming presence.
Give us the honesty we need to recognize
when we make it difficult for others to see your light,
and the grace we need to share your light with others.
We ask this in the name of your Son,
who calls us, his followers, to be light to the world.
Amen.

Day 1 - Reconciliation: Throwing the cargo overboard

Acts 27:18-19, 21

“We were being pounded by the storm so violently that on the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard and on the third day with their own hands they threw the ship’s tackle overboard… Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul thenstood up among them and said, ‘Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and thereby avoided this damage and loss’.”

Reflection

As Christians from different Churches and Traditions, we have unfortunately, over the centuries, accumulated abundantbaggage consisting of mutual distrust, bitterness and suspicion. We thank the Lord for the birth and the growth of the ecumenical movement over the past century. Our encounter with Christians from other traditions and our common prayer forChristian unity encourage us to seek mutual forgiveness, reconciliation and acceptance. We must not allow the baggage of our past to hinder us from drawing closer to one another. It is the Lord’s will that we let go, in order to let God!

Prayer
Forgiving God,
set us free from the painful memories of the past,
that wound our shared Christian life.
Lead us to reconciliation so that,
through the Holy Spirit,
we may overcome hatred with love,
anger with gentleness
and suspicion with trust.
We ask this in the name
of your beloved Son, our brother Jesus.
Amen.

Christian unity – Day 1

Let us Pray for Christian Unity

Day 1 - Reconciliation: Throwing the cargo overboard

Acts 27:18-19, 21

“We were being pounded by the storm so violently that on the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard and on the third day with their own hands they threw the ship’s tackle overboard… Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul thenstood up among them and said, ‘Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and thereby avoided this damage and loss’.”

Reflection

As Christians from different Churches and Traditions, we have unfortunately, over the centuries, accumulated abundantbaggage consisting of mutual distrust, bitterness and suspicion. We thank the Lord for the birth and the growth of the ecumenical movement over the past century. Our encounter with Christians from other traditions and our common prayer forChristian unity encourage us to seek mutual forgiveness, reconciliation and acceptance. We must not allow the baggage of our past to hinder us from drawing closer to one another. It is the Lord’s will that we let go, in order to let God!

Prayer
Forgiving God,
set us free from the painful memories of the past,
that wound our shared Christian life.
Lead us to reconciliation so that,
through the Holy Spirit,
we may overcome hatred with love,
anger with gentleness
and suspicion with trust.
We ask this in the name
of your beloved Son, our brother Jesus.
Amen.

Protect the Oceans – Pope’s video for september

Let's protect the oceans

The Pope's video - September 2019

One way to explain the importance of taking care of the oceans is to use a couple of simple but effective examples: one out of every two people lives off of the ocean, and of every two breaths we take, one is thanks to the oceans. Let us take care of them. Their death is the death of all life on earth, including us.

“Oceans contain the bulk of our planet’s water supply, and also most of the immense variety of living creatures, many of which are threatened for various reasons.

Our solidarity with the ‘common home’ is born from our faith. Creation is a project of love given by God to humanity.

Let us pray this month that politicians, scientists and economists work together to protect the world’s seas and oceans.”

Hozana Social Network

On this World Social Communications day, I’d like to introduce you to a Catholic social network of prayers, which I like very much. Any body / community can create a prayer community or just join one (or more) community which suits his/her needs, spirituality, affinity… 

A parish could create its own prayer community, or a confirmation group, or a Missionary Society… The possibilities are endless! 

To register to the website, go to:

https://hozana.org/en

… and from there you can register with as many prayer communities as you want, or create your own.

Celebration of the Blessed Martyrs of Algeria

Tomorrow, May 8, we will commemorate for the first time in the Church the Blessed Martyrs of Algeria. Recently, we organized ourselves in Rome to standardize the rare photos we have of our four blessed confreres by having them drawn by a street artist. Below, you will find a reproduction of it. You can download the same photo in A3 format (42cm x 29,7cm) by clicking on the photo, which you can print and frame if you wish. Below you will find links to individual high-resolution drawings that the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers and White Sisters) and the families of the Blessed Missionaries can use as they see fit. Note that all rights belong to the Missionaries of Africa, Via Aurelia 269 in Rome (Italy).

Small leaflets were printed for each of the blessed with their pictures, a short biography and a prayer. These leaflets are currently on their way to all the provinces with the Petit Echo n° 1100. We wish you a good reception.

Finally, you will find (unofficial) translations of the liturgy of the day and the reading office (only in French).

Portrait Jean Chevillard HR (15 Mo)

Portrait Alain Dieulanguard HR (20 Mo)

Portrait Christian Chessel HR (23 Mo)

Portrait Charles Deckers (16 Mo)

Liturgy of the day (French)

Office of readings (French)

Liturgy of the day (English)

 

Feast of Our Lady of Africa

The feast of Our Lady of Africa is celebrated every year on the 30th of April. This feast if a Solemnity in North Africa and, of course, a major Solemnity for all the Missionaries of Africa.

Unfortunately, the feast is so little known elsewhere that it can be very difficult to find the texts for the celebration of Mass for the Solemnity.  

The Coordination of JPIC-ED of the General House of the Missionaries of Africa in Rome has prepared five documents for the use of any community, which wants to celebrate the Solemnity.

In English:

Feast of Our Lady, Mother of Africa – Texts to celebrate the Mass

Feast of Our Lady of Africa – Universal Prayer

In French:

Fête de Notre-Dame d’Afrique – Les textes de la messe

Fête de Notre-Dame d’Afrique – La prière universelle

Ensemble avec Marie, vivons la rencontre entre musulmans et chrétiens

Renewing the way we look at things

This text by Bernard Ugeux appeared in the last Info-PAC.

This jubilee time is for us an opportunity to take a renewed Christian look at our brothers and sisters, at the Church, Africa, the World…

Jesus has a unique way of looking at the people he meets, especially the most vulnerable, of recognizing the signs of the times in the expectations of crowds without a shepherd and the oppositions of religious authorities. He has renewed the hope of his people.

As for Cardinal Lavigerie, he too, throughout his life, took a very profound and demanding look at the realities of the world and the Church.

  • A look inhabited by the Spirit who benevolently discerns the new calls addressed to the Church by the societies of his time, in France, in the East, then in Africa.
  • An apostle’s look at all those who ignore the God of tenderness and forgiveness proclaimed by Jesus Christ.
  • A visionary and passionate look, he who is ready to give his life for the salvation of the infidels of Africa as a whole, “as if he saw the invisible”.
  • A look of reconciliation when he meets the prelates of the East invited to return to full communion with Rome.
  • A look that calls, confirms and sends apostles – men and women – for Africa, inviting them to consider martyrdom without fear.
  • A look that courageously and serenely confronts the opposition of those who refuse the Church’s openness to the people of North Africa.
  • A look of deep compassion that invites us to begin the proclamation of the Gospel by caring for the bodies while waiting for the awakening of souls.
  • A tender look at orphans boys and girls, abandoned people and victims of massacres or epidemics, whether in Lebanon or Syria, in Kabylia or the Sahara, or in the depths of the African continent.
  • A wrathful and provocative look in his tour of European capitals to stop the slave trade in Africa, appealing to humanity as much as to the faith of his listeners.
  • A sometimes dominating and overpowering look at his collaborators, which then leads him to humbly ask forgiveness from those he has hurt by the overwhelming nature or demands he has placed on them.
  • A look of contemplation and adoration placed with confidence for hours each day on Christ, the Sacred Heart, the Blessed Sacrament, and which is implored at the feet of Mary, Joseph and the great martyrs of North Africa. …
  • Today, what view does Lavigerie invite us to take of the human spaces that Pope Francis calls the peripheries?
  • What look of renewed indignation and compassion at the countless contemporary slaves and human trafficking that primarily affect children and young people; at migration, the looting of raw materials from poor countries and all forms of human exploitation?
  • What discernment about contemporary developments in globalization and its victims?
  • What invitation to dialogue between the currents within the Church and with other Christian confessions and religions?
  • What openness to differences in language, culture, religion, faith, gender, generation, recognizing that otherness is not a threat but a gift, when it does not impose itself with fanaticism?

In short, today, the Cardinal invites us to know him better (1) in his complexity and richness and to convert our viewpoint so that he may come closer to that of Christ, in his benevolence and his demands, beginning with ourselves.

Bernard Ugeux, M.Afr.

(1) In May 2019, Bernard Ugeux’s book will be published, Prier quinze jours avec le Cardinal Lavigerie, Nouvelles cités