“Let us thank the Lord who guides his people towards full communion with faithfulness and patience, and let us ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten us and sustain us with his gifts,” Pope Francis invited, after praying the Angelus on January 15, 2023.
Referring to the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which will be held, as every year, from January 18 to 25, and which will conclude with the celebration of Vespers in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls on January 25 at 5:30 p.m., the head of the Catholic Church explained that “the path towards Christian unity and the path of the synodal conversion of the Church are linked.”
He announced that September 30, in St. Peter’s Square, there will be an ecumenical prayer vigil, “with which we will entrust to God the work of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops,” explained Francis.
The Pope said that a special program organized by the Taizé Community will be held for young people throughout the weekend.
“As of now, I invite all brothers and sisters of all the Christian denominations to participate in this gathering of the People of God,” Pope Francis said.
After the various synodal events held at different levels (parish, diocesan, national and continental), the plenary assembly in October 2023 in the Vatican will be followed by another in October 2024. This Synod will thus follow the model of the Synod on the Family, which had two plenary sessions in Rome, in 2014 and 2015.
Appeal for Ukraine
As every Sunday, Pope Francis also, very briefly, mentioned the war in Ukraine. “Brothers and sisters, let us not forget the tormented Ukrainian people, who are suffering greatly. Let us stay close to them with our sentiments, our aid, and our prayer,” Pope Francis asked.
The week was marked in particular by the battle of Soledar, a town of 10,000 inhabitants in the east of the country, which Russian forces announced the conquest of on January 10. The Ukrainian military testified to the extreme violence of the fighting, which was led in particular by militiamen from the Wagner group. The members of this paramilitary group are often former prisoners called up to fight on the Ukrainian front in a spirit of sacrifice.
The information about this battle remains very partial and confused, and no precise human toll has been given.