TODAY, SHROVE TUESDAY (aka “Mardi Gras”) we celebrated the FEAST OF THE HOLY FACE OF JESUS, with Holy Mass and Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament. On the first Sunday of every month, we also have Holy Face Devotions with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.
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The Chair of Unity Octave
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The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity
Since 1908, a period of eight days (January 18th, the former feast of the St. Peter’s Chair at Antioch, through 25th, the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul) has been set apart for the express purpose of seeking “that unity which was prayed for by Christ Himself.” This was the inspiration given by God to Father Paul Wattson. Fr. Paul, along with Mother Lurana White, founded, within the Episcopal Church, the Franciscan Society of the Atonement in Graymoor, New York. Father Paul, who converted to Roman Catholicism along with Mother Lurana, in 1909, considered the Octave as the greatest project which came from Graymoor, and even though it was overshadowed by the less-specific “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity” during his own lifetime, he rejoiced that those separated from the Catholic Church felt called to observe the January period as a time of prayer for unity. Even though their concept of unity differs from that of the Catholic Church, it is significant that so many pray for that unity which God desires for His people. The Octave, as originally conceived by Father Paul, reflects the unchanging truth that there can be no real unity apart from union with that Rock, established by Christ Himself, which is Peter and his successors. For that reason, St. Peter is considered the special Patron of the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity.
Known more familiarly today as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the traditional prayers set by Fr. Paul Wattson are as follows:
ANTIPHON: That they all may 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 hast sent Me.
V. I say unto thee, thou art Peter;
R. And upon this rock I will build My Church.
[Here is brought to mind the intention for the day's prayer.]