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A belated Mary ChristMass and Blessed New Year.
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We all believe that one of the greatest tragedies of our times is the loss of unity with those who once were Catholic, who still think they are Catholic, but who are outside the Church because they are not following Her laws and teachings. The Unity Octave each January offers us the opportunity to pray for all of them and to beg Christ and His Blessed Mother that one day, under one flock and one shepherd, we may all be reunited.
Pope Leo XIII first suggested these prayers in 1897 when he asked Catholics to pray for Christian unity by reciting a novena. Later, the actual Church Unity Octave was established and blessed by Pope St. Pius X in 1909, who set the dates for the Octave. Prayers begin with the date of the Chair of St. Peter (Jan. 18) and end with the Conversion of St. Paul, (Jan. 26). Pope Benedict XV extended its observance to the Universal Church on Feb. 25, 1916. All today should join in these prayers.
Unity Octave Prayers
Priest: How the Sacred Heart must grieve to behold so many divisions among Christian Churches separated from the one true Church He founded. Pray that Christ’s plea may be realized:
ANTIPHON: (Cantor) Ut omnes unum sint, sicut tu Pater in me* et ego in te; ut et ipsi in nobis unum sint, ut mundus credat* quia tu me misisti. (John 17: 21)
(Translation: That they may all be One, as Thou, Father, in Me and I in Thee; that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that Thou has sent me.)
V. (Priest) “I say unto thee, that thou art Peter;”
R. (All) “And upon this Rock I will build My Church.”
Priest: LET US PRAY. O Lord Jesus Christ, Who didst say to Thine Apostles: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you,” regard not our sins but the Faith of Thy Church, and grant unto her that peace and unity which are agreeable to Thy Will. Who livest and reignest, God forever and ever. All: Amen.
Prayer to Our Lady, Help of Christians, to Protect the Church
All: Mary, Immaculate Virgin, Mother of God and our Mother, thou seest how the Catholic Faith is assailed by the devil and the world – that Faith in which we purpose, by the help of God, to live and die – Do thou, O Help of Christians, renew thy victories as of old, for the salvation of thy children.
To thee we entrust our firm purpose of never joining assemblies of heretics. Do thou, all holy, offer to thy Divine Son our resolutions and obtain from Him the graces necessary for us to keep them unto the end. Bring consolation to the visible head of the Church – support the Catholic Episcopate; protect the clergy and the people who proclaim thee Queen. Hasten, by the power of thy prayers, the day when all nations shall be gathered around the Supreme Pastor. Amen.
Priest: Mary, Help of Christians,
ALL: Pray for us.
(Those praying the Octave are asked to direct each day to the following intentions):
Friday, Jan. 18: The return of all the “other sheep” to the one fold of St. Peter, the One Shepherd.
Saturday, Jan. 19: The return of all Oriental Separatists to Communion with the Apostolic See.
Sunday, Jan 20: The submission of Anglicans to the Authority of the Vicar of Christ.
Monday, Jan 21: That the Lutherans and all other Protestants of continental Europe may find their way back to the Holy Church.
Tuesday, Jan 22: That Christians in America may become one in communion with the Chair of St. Peter.
Wednesday, Jan. 23: The return to the Sacraments of lapsed Catholics.
Thursday, Jan. 24: The conversion of the Jews.
Friday, Jan. 25: The Missionary conquest of the world for Christ.