Office for Christian Unity,
Thursday, February 9, 2023
“May they all be one, so that the world may believe”
In the course of history, the followers of Christ have been divided, separated and even fought against. In Nantes, on August 24, we remembered the 450th anniversary of the St Bartholomew’s Day massacres. This was an opportunity to acknowledge our sin and to ask for forgiveness, but above all to give thanks for the beautiful path of dialogue that has opened up since the beginning of the 20th century, particularly since the Second Vatican Council. Thanks to the Council, the paths to a rediscovered unity between the Churches have been opened.
It is true that we are still on the way, and we may feel that we are not moving forward very quickly… But we are making progress and we now know that ecumenism is not the search for the lowest common denominator of unity, nor is it the subordination of one by the other.
Ecumenism is communion between our churches so as to allow the recognition of the other as a gift, rather than as a competitor.
Ecumenism is where we are invited to deepen our own faith in the light of the other’s, in a common confession of the name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Ecumenism is fraternity with the other on the building sites of our world where the disciples of Christ are needed. These are the sites of solidarity and peace, of dialogue, of the horizon of meaning that the people of today so cruelly lack – all those places where Christ has been working, and which have allowed the birth of the People of Hope, in the breath of the Spirit.
Extract from the Pastoral Letter of Mgr Laurent Percerou, Bishop of Nantes
Prepared by the brothers and sisters at Melleray Abbey
To be used as appropriate
1/ On January 21, during the Week of Prayer for Unity, the parish of Sainte-Marie de Belle-Beille in Angers organized an ecumenical celebration. This meeting was interrupted by a group of young traditionalist Catholics, who came to oppose it by singing songs of ‘Hail Mary’.
Lord, we entrust to you the different churches in Angers, and the unity between them. We also entrust to you these fifteen young people: bless and comfort them.
2/. The Bishop of Nantes, Mgr Percerou, came to visit the novices of the Chemin Neuf Community in Melleray to share his testimony. He shared about several solidarity projects that the Diocese of Nantes is running in collaboration with local churches of different confessions.
Lord, we entrust to you each of these churches, and their shared projects of social justice. Bless them and send your Holy Spirit to guide them.
3/ “How pleasant, how sweet it is for brothers and sisters to dwell together” Psalm 133 (132)
Lord, send your Holy Spirit into our hearts: burn in us the desire to overcome all that separates us from one another; open the eyes of our hearts so that we can recognise ourselves united in Christ, beyond our own wounds.