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Tuesday, June 17, 2014
From Porto Alegre, in Brazil, some news of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, in the southern hemisphere.


The feast of Pentecost is past, once again bringing the gift of unity that is felt even among different charisms, such as those developed through the centuries by many Christian churches. In order to emphasize the spirit of Pentecost, which unites Christians, the churches in the southern hemisphere celebrate at this time of year the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

In Porto Alegre, for example, conferences have given way to art: a musical evening called “An Ecumenical Musical Evening” brought together various groups in the city, both as audience and as musicians. Intense correspondence over a two-month period meant that all those who in previous years had participated in ecumenical initiatives were invited. And finally the much-expected date arrived: June 4, 2014. There were approximately 300 people, to listen to a performance of violins, with children from different schools, the choir of Porto Alegre, with people from all over the city, not belonging to any particular church, and other artistic pieces. The recitation of the Lord’s Prayer was an important moment, to seal real relationships as brothers and sisters who seek to bear witness to the one faith in Christ.

How to live this witness? Joan Patricia Back (Centro Uno of the Focolare Movement), in a reflection during the Week of Prayer in the northern hemisphere (January 2014) in Modena, Italy had said, “The exhortation to unity is contradicted by the actual situation: for centuries Christians have been divided, and the divisions are the anomaly with which they present themselves to the world that does not know Christ. But Jesus said that the world would recognize him by the unity of those who follow him: how can we live today so that the world may see Christ in us? We are called to live a life of communion in Christ, which is the foundation of unity: if we base our lives on Him, we live as he taught us, we are his people, then we will be one. And he invites us to love one another as he has loved us, because from this people will recognize us as disciples. And we can love each other even though we belong to different churches.”