CNEWA Canada

The unity is there – one only has to look for it 

A reflection on Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2024

In the journey towards unity amongst Christian Churches, events like the annual ecumenical celebration during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Montreal, stand out as powerful catalysts for fostering understanding, friendship and unity among different Christian denominations.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is not just an annual event— it’s a grand tapestry of prayer, friendship, and shared devotion that has brought Christians together at memorable, prayerful events around the world. 

 Dr. Adriana Bara, CNEWA Canada’s National Director, was one of the Organizing Committee members for this largest ecumenical event in Montreal (and probably the largest in Canada). She shed light on the significance of such gatherings and shared her insights on breaking down barriers to unity within Christian Churches. It’s a precious moment for fostering connections.

In particular, this year’s celebration allowed Christian denominations to come together in prayer and friendship. In his homily, Christian Lepine, Archbishop for the Catholic faithful in Montreal, focused on the story of the Good Samaritan to exemplify the theme of love that binds Christians. This love, mirroring Christ’s love for His people, transcends differences and emphasizes the healing power of unity in Christ.

Dr. Bara emphasized that while theological differences may exist, events like the ecumenical celebration in Montreal showcase the joy of being together. Friendships are established, leading to fruitful exchanges between Churches throughout the year. The desire for closeness among Churches is evident.

Reflecting on the ecumenical celebration, participants take home invaluable lessons. The primary takeaway is the realization that, despite denominations differences, Christians are one family belonging to Christ. The call to view each other as brothers and sisters, not adversaries, echoes Christ’s message of love and unity.  

“If we see each other as part of one family, we can unite our efforts for social work and active involvement in society,” said Dr. Bara. “The message is clear: unity in love can make a tangible difference in the world.” 

“The work of CNEWA, thanks to our donors and supporters, with our global campaigns and partnerships with Eastern Churches, is a very good example of the materialization of Christian love” Dr. Bara added. “The commitment CNEWA has to helping those in need, irrespective of their religious background, exemplifies the essence of Christian love.” 

She reminds us of CNEWA’s steadfast approach—never asking about the religious affiliation of those we aid but simply reaching out to help. This inclusivity and selfless love mirrors the teachings of Jesus Christ.

The presence of three cloistered Benedictine nuns from the Abaye of Ste-Marie de Deux-Montagne at the ecumenical meeting underscores the depth of commitment to Christian unity. These nuns, who rarely leave their monastery, attended the event at the invitation of Dr. Bara, to pray togheter with all Christians who came at the celebration, for the unity of Christians. 

Events such as ecumenical celebrations during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity exemplify the transformative power of Christian love in breaking down barriers and fostering unity. CNEWA, in its mission of embracing our shared identity alongside Christians of all traditions, help to walk with many Eastern churhces in love – knowing that the vision of one Church in Christ is not just a distant dream but a tangible reality.

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