Cardinal Jose Advincula of Manila this week said “Christian unity” can counter the “sadness, violence, sin, and death” that the world is facing in the midst of the pandemic and conflicts.
The prelate shared his reflection as the Catholic Church marks the 22nd Week of Prayer for Christian Unity from January 16 to 22.
In his message on the theme “We saw the star in the East, and we came to worship him,” the cardinal urged the faithful to follow the example of the three wise men.
“Like the wise men, let us follow the shining star that will bring us to Jesus, the light of the world that will never be defeated by darkness,” the prelate said in Filipino over Radio Veritas 846.
He said the theme of this year’s observance is appropriate with the violence and conflicts around the world.
“It is important to press for the unity of Christians. By doing it, we will be known as followers of Jesus,” he added.
On January 19, Cardinal Advincula led an ecumenical prayer service at the Manila Cathedral with various faith and religious groups.
“Our struggle toward unity is a star that will lead us to Jesus,” he said in his message.
“I hope that the love and care for each other as Christians will bring light to the world that is filled with darkness, sadness, violence, sin, and death,” said the cardinal.
The Vatican has earlier issued a letter asking Catholic bishops to invite local Orthodox and Protestant leaders to participate in the diocesan stage of the two-year process leading to the 2023 Synod on Synodality.
“The dialogue between Christians of different confessions, united by one baptism, has a special place in the synodal journey,” said the letter highlighted by the Vatican on January 17.
“Indeed, both synodality and ecumenism are processes of ‘walking together.’”
Offering “some practical suggestions to ensure the ecumenical dimension of the synodal journey,” the cardinals encouraged bishops to reach out to leaders of other Christian communities in their area.
“After identifying the main Christian communities present in the area, [the bishop] should prepare and send a letter to their leaders (or better visit them personally for this purpose),” their letter said.
The bishops should then invite local Christian leaders to send delegates to pre-synodal diocesan meetings and submit written reflections on questions included in the preparatory documents.