Church Unity Octave Begins Tomorrow

Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter by Perugino

Tomorrow, the former feast of the Chair of St. Peter at Rome (this feast was combined with the feast of St. Peter’s Chair at Antioch and the combined feast is now kept on February 22nd), marks the beginning of the Church Unity Octave, a week set aside in the Church to pray for the conversion of all who are not in communion with the Holy See. The Octave ends on the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul on the 25th, and each day is dedicated to a different, specific intention.

Conversion of St. Paul by Caravaggio

The Octave was founded in 1908 by Fr. Paul Wattson, an Anglican priest who explained the devotion as a week of prayer for the unity of all under the authority of the Holy See. Fr. Wattson was received into the Church the following year, and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1910. The Octave was approved by Pope St. Pius X and promoted by Pope Benedict XV, who encouraged its celebration throughout the universal Church. You can use the prayers below to join in the Octave and follow each day’s intentions.

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.

℣. I say unto thee, thou art Peter;
℟. And upon this rock I will build my Church.

January 18: The union of all Christians in the one true Faith and in the Church

January 19: The return of separated Eastern Christians to communion with the Holy See

January 20: The reconciliation of Anglicans with the Holy See

January 21: The reconciliation of European Protestants with the Holy See

January 22: That American Christians become one in union with the Chair of Peter

January 23: The restoration of lapsed Catholics to the sacramental life of the Church

January 24: That the Jewish people come into their inheritance in Jesus Christ

January 25: The missionary extension of Christ’s kingdom throughout the world

Let us pray.

O Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto Thine Apostles: Peace I leave you, My peace I give to you; regard not our sins, but the faith of Thy Church, and grant unto her that peace and unity which are agreeable to Thy Will; Who livest and reignest ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

Prayer to Our Lady, Help of Christians

Mary, Immaculate Virgin, Mother of God and our Mother, thou seest how the Catholic Faith is assailed by the devil and the world – that Faith in which we purpose, by the help of God, to live and die. Do thou, O Help of Christians, renew thy victories of old, for the salvation of thy children. To thee we entrust our firm purpose of never joining assemblies of heretics. Do thou, all holy, offer to thy Divine Son our resolutions, and obtain from Him the graces necessary for us to keep them unto the end. Bring consolation to the visible head of the Church, support the Catholic Episcopate, protect the clergy and the people who proclaim thee Queen. Hasten, by the power of thy prayers, the day when all nations shall be gathered around the Supreme Pastor. Amen.

January 17, 2019