World Day of Prayer For Christian Unity

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A smaller than usual turnout attended the World Day of Prayer for Christian Unity held January 19 at Sonlight Christian Reformed Church possibly because two hours earlier the annual Regina Multi Faith Forum World Day of Religion service was held at Beth Jacob Synagogue in another part of the city. That service was attended by over 100 including many who usually attend the World Day of Prayer for Christian Unity which this year attracted about 50 people.

Sonlight Pastor Charles Kooger opened the service with a welcome and a reminder that this year’s service was written in Canada. “The word Canada, in the language of some of the country’s first people, the Iroquois, means village. As members of the household of God, Christians around the world indeed habit one village. When Christians worship they link themselves to this vast global village so full of beauty, struggle and hope,” he said in his opening welcome.

The service opened with the singing of the Huron Carol and carried through with the reading of several biblical passages by different readers, community prayers, a homily from Peter Gilmer of the Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry and ended with the singing of Beautiful Saviour and the traditional blessing and sending fourth.

Gilmer centred his homily on relationships, poverty and social justice. Quoting from the CCCB 1983 statement on poverty and justice, he noted that most churches are involved in poverty issues but need to get more involved in social justice issues.

The World Day of Prayer is a project of the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. It was written by a committee of 12 representatives of Canadian Christian Churches and the text was finalized by an International Committee formed by the two sponsoring bodies who met with the Canadian committee in September 2012. Of the 12 Canadian committee members, four were from Saskatchewan: Bishop Donald Bolen, Saskatoon Roman Catholic Diocese who put together the Canadian contingent; Reverend Dr. Sandra Beardsall, St. Andrews College, Saskatoon; Presbyterian Reverend Amanda Currie, Presbytery of Northern Saskatchewan, Saskatoon and Nicholas Jesson Roman Catholic Ecumenical Officer Diocese of Saskatoon.

Two communities in the Regina Archdiocese, Fort Qu’Appelle and Wolseley held prayer services each day of the week January 20-24. The churches in Fort Qu’Appelle held their services at noon in the different churches with a soup and a bun lunch. In Wolseley the services were held each day in the Seniors’ Activity Centre.

Ministries:

My dear brothers and sisters, our Catholic faith has been keeping us busy over this last week and a half. During the last ten days we have celebrated four great Feast Days of our faith in Jesus Christ. We have gathered as the Church to celebrate the Birth of Jesus which gave us the assurance that in every aspect of our life, Jesus is God-with-us. We are never left alone or abandoned.

My dear friends, in my younger days, I used to ask why is New Year’s a holy day of Obligation? Everybody is out celebrating the New Year on New Year’s Eve, so they don’t have time to go to Mass and on New Year’s Day everyone is too tired to go to Mass.  Everyone who went to Confession during Advent to get ready for Christmas finds that within a week they are in the state of sin again because they missed Mass on a Holy Day of Obligation! Seemed strange to me.

My dear brothers and sisters, we continue our celebration of the Nativity of our Lord, Jesus Christ on this Sunday that follows Christmas. As soon as we talk about the birth of a baby, we very quickly begin to think about the family that welcomes this baby. On this Sunday following Christmas we turn our minds and our hearts towards the family of Jesus – to Mary and Joseph and their new child. And of course when we do that we also immediately think about our own families.