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Unity week: truth and dignity

Pope Francis will pass through the Holy Door at St. Paul Outside-the Walls in Rome, during an ecumenical service on the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle on January 25, at the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, 

The theme for this year’s week of prayer, which runs from January 18 to 25, Called to proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord, (cf. 1 Peter 2:9) was prepared by the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. It seeks to remind Christians of the connection between baptism and the mission to proclaim the gospel.

Members of different Churches in Latvia did the reflections which form the basis of the material that will be used.

The mighty acts are concerned with healing wounds, searching for truth and unity, and actively committing to upholding human dignity. These aspects reflect the face of God’s mercy.

Pope Francis, in proclaiming the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, emphasised that God’s mercy is at the foundation of the Church’s life and Christians should also be merciful, that mercy and justice are two dimensions of a single reality and both derive from God’s love.

The pope also proposed some concrete ways for conversion. Apart from pilgrimage and going to confession, he encouraged people to forgive more and to give more rather than to judge and condemn, to not speak ill of others and to open their hearts to the marginalised. 

In Hong Kong, the Catholic and Protestant Churches are also jointly organising gatherings for the week of prayer. 

While seeking ways to promote unity and conversion among the faithful, we should also consider how to make this present and tangible in society at large. As Christians, our witness in the community must be such that people can see the light of Christ amidst the chaos. 

A series of recent incidents has dominated news headlines and grabbed the attention of the people of Hong Kong, among them the proposed universal pension scheme, the appointment of the controversial figure of Arthur Li Kwok-cheung—in the face of much opposition—as the new chairperson of the governing council of the University of Hong Kong, and the disappearance of publisher, Lee Bo, and four of his partners in a bookstore that sells books critical of the mainland Chinese government. 

In response to the disappearances, a committee under the Hong Kong Christian Council appealed to its member Churches and all Christians to pray for them. 

Apart from prayer, some Christian communities have also put together social concern formation activities and even actions to voice their views on social issues. 

This is an example of Christian unity at work, seeking the truth and safeguarding human dignity.

On January 8, Pope Francis said on Twitter, “When the world slumbers in comfort and selfishness, our Christian mission is to help it rouse from sleep.” 

Let us encourage each other in our endeavours during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. SE