Added on 22/01/2013
The inaugural service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Dublin and Glendalough took place in St George’s and St Thomas’s Church on Cathal Bruagh Street on Friday January 18.
The service was coordinated by the Indian Orthodox Congregation who use the Church of Ireland church and was attended by Church leaders from many Christian denominations including Archbishop Michael Jackson and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. Fr Brendan Leahy, bishop elect of Limerick, was also present.
The preacher by Revd Prof Fredrick Bliss, Professor of Ecumenical Theology at the University of St Thomas Aquinas, Rome.
In his reflection he said that they were indebted to the Indian Christian students who cited the great injustices done to the Dalits of India in their preparation of the background material for this years Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. They urged congregations to think about the havoc that castes or religious divisions caused for people, communities and the Christian Church.
“To live with Christian division is one option. Another is not to accept the status quo, but to become pro–active disciples of Christ for the restoration of the unity for which He prayed (John 17, 11),” he said.
Prof Bliss shared a series of stories of people and communities throughout the world who had chosen to make Christ’s prayer for unity their own.
Meanwhile, on Sunday January 21 the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin preached at an ecumenical service to mark the week in St Saviour’s Church of Ireland Church in Arklow.
In his homily Archbishop Martin said the call to ecumenism was an urgent call. He added: “There are of course many areas where enormous progress has been made and if we look at them in terms of the length of years of our common history of division these gains have been attained in a remarkably short time.”
Archbishop Martin told the congregation in Arklow that prayer was the essential stepping stone towards overcoming our “self–generated” divisions. He later said that a dimension of silence and contemplation must also form part of our contribution as believers to our world, where so often the emptiness of noise prevents us from even asking the fundamental questions about life.
Referring to an address last year by Archbishop Rowan Williams to the Synod of Catholic Bishops in Rome, he said: “He(Archbishop Williams) noted that if we do not manage to live more humanly in this sense we “run the risk of trying to sustain faith on the basis of an un–transformed set of human habits – with the all too familiar result that the Church comes to look unhappily like so many purely human institutions, anxious, busy, competitive and controlling”.
Local Church leaders with the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr Diarmuid Martin and his master of ceremonies, Fr Damien McNeice, in St Saviour’s Church of Ireland Church in Arklow for an ecumenical service to mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
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