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Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2014

'Has Christ Been Divided?' Chosen theme for January 18-25, 2014

GARRISON, NY, UNITED STATES, October 16, 2013 / -- For Immediate Release


Garrison, NY, October 16, 2013 – Each year, the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement organize and help promote the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Together, Christian communities around the world use the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity to share ideas for ecumenical education and celebration.

In 1908, Fr. Paul Wattson, SA, and Mother Lurana White, SA, co-founders of the Society of the Atonement at Graymoor, celebrated the first Church Unity Octave, an eight-day period of prayers and seminars focusing on the cause of Christian unity from January 18-25, 1908. They wrote letters and articles encouraging others to pray with them “that all may be one … that the world may believe” (John 17:21). In the late 1960s, the Octave was joined with other prayer movements to form what is now observed worldwide as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Fr. Thomas Orians, SA, Associate Director of Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute (GEII) explains the theme for 2014. “Being faithful to Christ’s desire for the unity of his disciples has led to this year’s theme which focuses on Saint Paul’s provocative question in 1 Corinthians,“Has Christ Been Divided?” Christians continue to be divided by doctrine, polity, and practice, and to maintain our own religious identities, yet our pilgrimage towards unity continues under God’s guidance.”

In 1966, the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches and the Vatican Secretariat (now Council) for Promoting Christian Unity began collaborating as a common international text for worldwide

usage. Since 1968, these international texts, which are based on themes proposed by ecumenical groups around the world, have been developed, adapted and published for use in the United States by the Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute.

English and Spanish posters, prayer cards, bulletin cover art, and other printed materials can be ordered from GEII directly for the Week of Prayer which will take place from January 18-25, 2014. Materials for congregations now can be requested with convenient secure online ordering at Week of Prayer for Christian Unity additional materials for music, publicity, preparation notes and ideas for reflection can be downloaded from the website at no charge.

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The Franciscan Friars of the Atonement are a Roman Catholic order of brothers and priests founded in 1898 by Fr. Paul Wattson, SA at Graymoor in Garrison. Since that time, the Friars have worked for reconciliation and healing through “at-one-ment” — the unity of men and women with God and with one another — so that the prayer of Jesus “that they all may be one” might be fulfilled. Through their mission and ministries they serve people of every race, religion, and walk of life. Their social ministries help the poor, the needy, and the homeless; people living with HIV; frail and elderly in hospitals and hospices; those in prison; and people seeking recovery from alcoholism and chemical addictions. Their ecumenical work makes them leaders of the international movement to heal the divisions within Christianity and among all faiths. Through their prayers and pastoral ministries, they bring spiritual renewal, unity, harmony, and reconciliation throughout the world and carry the Gospel message to three continents. For more information about the friars, visit

Linda Grassia
Franciscan Friars of the Atonement
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