Week of Prayer for Christian Unity to Mark 100th Anniversary

HNP Communications Franciscan World

GARRISON, N.Y. — The annual observance of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity — Jan. 18-25 — has special significance this year as the commemoration marks its 100th anniversary. 

In January 2008, the Society of the Atonement, started by a group of Franciscan sisters and friars, and credited for beginning the commemoration, marks 100 years of consistently praying and working for unity of all Christian churches.

The observance, according to a published report, was begun by the Atonement Friars at Graymoor in 1908 as the Church Unity Octave.

“The provinces of St. Mary and St. Joseph have a special connection through Solanus Casey, who, in July 1910, was the archdeacon and preacher at Paul Wattson’s First Mass of Thanksgiving, said Fr. Jim Gardner, an Atonement Friar at Graymoor.  More information is included in the Nov. 16 issue of  Weekly re:Cap.

Wattson and Mother Lurana White, cofounders of the Society of Atonement, founded the Church Unity Octave in 1908. According to the weekly newsletter of the Capuchin Province of St. Joseph, Pope Pius X officially blessed the Octave, and in 1916,  Pope Benedict XV encouraged its observance by the entire Church.  In the 1930s, the name was changed to  “Chair of the Unity Octave.”