Unity Week to Focus on Unceasing Prayer

Begins Friday With Pope's Celebration of Vespers

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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 15, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI will begin the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity by presiding at the celebration of vespers at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.

The week of prayer begins Friday and ends Jan. 25, the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.

The theme chosen for this year, taken from the First Letter of Paul to the Thessalonians, is "Pray Without Ceasing." The texts for reflection and prayer were prepared by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches.

The Vatican press office released today the theme for each day of the week:

Friday, Jan. 18: Pray always. "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Saturday, Jan. 19: Pray always, trusting God alone. "Give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Sunday, Jan. 20: Pray without ceasing for the conversion of hearts. "Admonish the idlers, encourage the faint-hearted" (1 Thessalonians 5:14).

Monday, Jan. 21: Pray always for justice. "See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all" (1 Thessalonians 5:15).

Tuesday, Jan. 22: Pray constantly with a patient heart. "Be patient with all of them" (1 Thessalonians 5:14).

Wednesday, Jan. 23: Pray always for grace to work with God. "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:16).

Thursday, Jan. 24: Pray for what we need. "Help the weak" (1 Thessalonians 5:14).

Friday, Jan. 25: Pray always that they all may be one. "Be at peace" (1 Thessalonians 5:13b)

Although the traditional period for celebrating this week of prayer is in January, in the Southern Hemisphere, Churches sometimes seek other periods such as around the time of Pentecost.