Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Photo: Daniel Erath/The Times-PicayuneIn New Orleans, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity events rotate among Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches. This year, the service was at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

 At an evening service this week, Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox clergy and worshippers recited together the ancient Nicene Creed, a common bond that formed a basis of their prayers for Christian unity.

The annual service, this year at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, is New Orleans’ participation in a global event called the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

With a service prepared jointly by the Vatican and the World Council of Churches, the event falls each year in late January, and in New Orleans rotates among Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches as host sites.

New Orleans began observing the event 27 years ago, said the Rev. Will Mackintosh, the retired Presbyterian minister who heads Inter-Faith Communications International, the most active interfaith and ecumenical enterprise in the area.

Each year the service focuses on common prayer on common ground, Mackintosh said: praying the Lord’s Prayer; asking the intercession of Christian saints and reciting the Nicene Creed, a summary of Christian belief.

Participants this year included Catholic, Protestant, Episcopal, Orthodox, and Coptic clergy, including Catholic Archbishop Gregory Aymond.

“Our goal is to seek the fulfillment of the prayer of Jesus, recorded in the Gospel of John, ‘that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you,’ ’’ Mackintosh said.

The sponsoring group also used the occasion to present for the first time two awards to local journalists for their work in writing or broadcasting about religious themes. They were Bruce Nolan, who writes about religion for The Times-Picayune, and Sally Ann Roberts of WWL-TV.