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Catholic Prayer: Book of Blessings: Blessing of Ecumenical Groups

Description:

553 At the Last Supper Christ prayed for the unity of his Church. The desire for greater Christian unity and prayer that the divisions among Christians may be healed should be a part of every ecumenical endeavor. This blessing is appropriate for use on the occasion of the first meeting of an ecumenical discussion group or an ecumenical group gathered for some other occasion.

554 If a minister of another Church is present, it is appropriate that he or she be invited to take a ministerial role in the service. The manner in which this is to be done should be agreed upon by the ministers involved.

555 The present order may be used by a priest, deacon, minister of another Church, and also by a layperson, who follows the rites and prayers designated for a lay minister.

Prayer:

ORDER OF BLESSING

INTRODUCTORY RITES

556 When the community has gathered, a suitable song may be sung. After the singing, the minister says: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

All reply: Amen.

557 A priest, deacon, or minister of another Church greets those present in the following or other suitable words, taken mainly from sacred Scripture. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

And all reply: And also with you.

558 A lay minister greets those present in the following words: The grace and peace of God our Father and Christ Jesus our Savior be with us for ever. R. Amen.

559 In the following or similar words, the minister prepares those present for the blessing. Brothers and sisters in Christ, we come together in prayer and praise, as people who believe in the one Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and share in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We also acknowledge that our unity in faith needs to be nourished and deepened. Through our prayer, work and study together may unity among Christians become ever more perfect.

READING OF THE WORD OF GOD

560 A reader or another person present reads a text of sacred Scripture. Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the apostle Paul to the Ephesians:

4:1-6 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism. I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

561 Or: Philippians 2:1-11--Your attitude must be that of Christ. Ephesians 2:19-22--You are strangers and aliens no longer. Colossians 3:12-17--Do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus. Matthew 18:19-22--Where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them. John 17:11-19--May these people be one as we are one! John 17:20-26--May these be completely one!

562 As circumstances suggest, one of the following responsorial psalms may be sung, or some other suitable song.

R. We are his people: the sheep of his flock.

Psalm 100 Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands; serve the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful song. R.

Know that the LORD is God; he made us, his we are; his people, the flock he tends. R.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise; Give thanks to him; bless his name. R.

For he is good: the LORD, whose kindness endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. R.

Psalm 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6 R. (v.1) The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.

563 As circumstances suggest, the minister may give those present a brief explanation of the biblical text, so that they may understand through faith the meaning of the celebration.

INTERCESSIONS

564 The intercessions are then said. The minister introduces them and an assisting minister or one of those present announces the intentions. From the following those best suited to the occasion may be used or adapted, or other intentions that apply to the particular circumstances may be composed.

The minister says: United in Christ, let us pray for all our brothers and sisters in the Lord. R. Lord, hear our prayer.

Assisting minister: For the holy people of God: may the Lord guide and protect us, we pray to the Lord. R.

Assisting minister: For the unity of the Church of God: may we grow in faith, hope, and love, we pray to the Lord. R.

Assisting minister: For all the peoples of the world: may the Lord unite us in peace and harmony, we pray to the Lord. R.

Assisting minister: For all those in need: may we be attentive to their call for help, we pray to the Lord. R.

Assisting minister: For ourselves and for our communities: may our lives be an acceptable sacrifice to God, we pray to the Lord. R.

565 After the intercessions the minister, in the following or similar words, invites all present to sing or say the Lord's Prayer. Let us pray with confidence to the Father in the words our Savior gave us:

All: Our Father . . .

PRAYER OF BLESSING

566 A priest, deacon, or minister of another Church says the prayer of blessing with hands outstretched; a lay minister says the prayer with hands joined.

Lord God, whose blessings reach to the ends of the earth, you show us your love in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, whom we call Savior and Lord.

Confirm us in our common faith that we may walk together with you and one another. Send your blessing upon your Church that what we have begun in the Spirit may be brought to completion by your power.

To you be glory and honor, now and for ever.

R. Amen.

CONCLUDING RITE

567 A priest, deacon, or minister of another Church concludes the rite by saying: May the gifts of God unite us in faith, hope, and love, now and for ever. R. Amen.

Then the priest, deacon, or minister of another Church blesses all present. And may almighty God bless you all, the Father, and the Son, + and the Holy Spirit. R. Amen.

568 A lay minister concludes the rite by saying: May the gifts of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, unite us in faith, hope, and love, now and for ever. R. Amen.

569 It is preferable to end the celebration with a suitable song.

Prayer Source: Book of Blessings by Prepared by International Commission on English in the Liturgy A Joint Commission of Catholic Bishops' Conferences, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1989
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