Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in New York City
January 26, 2017
The Dominican Parish of St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of Siena hosted a series of events for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which takes place each year from January 18–25.
The observance of the Week of Prayer opened on Wednesday, January 18 with a Holy Hour at the Church of St. Vincent Ferrer, featuring preaching on John 17 by Fr. Innocent Smith, O.P. On Thursday, January 19, the Parish offered a Votive Mass for Christian Unity, followed by a lecture by Dr. Christopher Ruddy from the Catholic University of America. Dr. Ruddy spoke on the connection between Christian Unity and Evangelization, and fielded questions from members of the parish as well as visitors from other Christian communities in New York.
On Friday, January 20, the Parish hosted a Lutheran–Catholic Prayer Service focused on the role of music within the Catholic and Lutheran traditions. Fr. Walter Wagner, O.P., Pastor of St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of Siena, presided over the event and proclaimed the chapter 17 of the Gospel of John in addition to leading the assembly in professing the Nicene Creed. Pastor Gregory Fryer of Immanuel Lutheran Church in New York City gave a talk on “Music as Handmaiden of Theology,” and Fr. Innocent Smith, O.P. spoke on “Music as Instrument of Tradition.” Both talks were followed by organ pieces drawn from the Lutheran and Catholic traditions played by the Parish organist James Wetzel. The ceremony ended with the recitation of the Our Father.
On Monday, January 23, the Parish cosponsored an Orthodox–Catholic Prayer Service focused on praying for the protection of unborn life and the end of abortion. The event took place at the Church of St. John Nepomucene, a neighboring parish of St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of Siena. The evening consisted of prayers drawn from the Catholic and Orthdox traditions. The Sisters of Life led the recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, followed by a talk by Sr. Virginia Joy of the Sisters of Life on the relation of the Visitation of Mary and Elizabeth to the work of protecting life.
Fr. Chad Hatfield of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, NY, assisted by a group of seminarians and students from the Seminary, led the singing of a Service of Supplication for an End to Abortion. The Service of Supplication drew on chants from the Orthodox liturgies for the feast of the Conception of the Holy Forerunner (St. John the Baptist), the Holy Innocents, and the Conception of the all-holy Mother of God. After this prayer, Fr. Hatfield delivered an address on behalf of Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America on the importance of praying for and working for the protection of unborn life.
Thanks be to God for these opportunities to worship him in Spirit and in Truth and to work for the Unity of Christians!
Photos of the Lutheran–Catholic and Orthodox–Catholic prayer services courtesy of Anthony Monaco.