The Diocese of Trenton joins other Christian churches from around the globe in praying for unity during the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity which begins Jan. 18 and concludes Jan. 25.

This year’s theme is from the second chapter of the gospel of Matthew, “We saw the star in the East, and we came to worship Him.”

The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the World Council of Churches select ecumenical leaders from various regions to prepare the theme and text for the Week of Prayer. This year’s theme was selected by the Middle East Council of Churches with Christians from Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, developing the resources that include an ecumenical opening prayer service, biblical reflections and prayers for eight days, and other elements of worship.

The theme recalls the Epiphany, the visit of the Magi to Bethlehem, highlighting God’s invitation to all of humanity to a new covenant in the Incarnation of Christ. In the Eastern Churches, Epiphany is joined to the mystery of the Baptism of Christ, a Baptism all Christians hold in common as testimony to their faith in the Son of God. The reflections consider how Christians are called to be a sign to the world of God bringing about unity and hope.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (WPCU) was first proposed in 1908 as an observance within the Roman Catholic Church by Father Paul Wattson, founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement in Graymoor, N.Y. Since the founding of the World Council of Churches in 1948, many other Christian denominations around the world have also joined in the celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

To assist faithful in celebrating the week, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has a variety of resources available including daily reflections for personal or group prayer experiences. The resources may be found by clicking here.