‘Christ the Lord has promised us the Holy Spirit: come, let us adore him, alleluia.’ (Invitatory antiphon).

Traditionally, the week of prayer for ‘Christian Unity’ is celebrated annually from 18–25 January, between the feasts of St Peter and St Paul. Christians come together to pray for their unity.  The theme for 2020 was ‘Unusual Kindness’.  The reading from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 27:27-28:5) was the text chosen for Week of Prayer 2020.

As noticed in this Sacred Scripture, the hospitality shown was a means to Christian unity. We are called to a spirit of greater generosity to those in need. While on a jouney, Paul and his companions were shipwrecked in a storm. The people who helped them did not yet know Christ. It was through this ‘unusual kindness’ shown at the time of need that brought these divided people closer together.   Our own Christian unity will be realised ‘through loving encounters with those who do not share our language, culture or faith.’

The Gospel (Jn 17:20-26) proclaimed at Mass today may be heard via webcam or read in the New Testament.

This Good News (Jn 17: 1-26), is Jesus’ prayer to the Father for ‘the new holy people’ and is a model for all prayer.

In the Gospel proclaimed today (Jn 17: 20-26), Jesus prays for the apostles and for all who will believe in him. Jesus prays to the Father, and asks that the world will know that God sent Jesus; that they will be all united in God; that they will be where Jesus is; and that they will know they are loved. Jesus promises those who believe that he will continue to reveal God’s name to them.


One of the skills taught to children in the Grow in Love programme is to explore the structure of the Prayer of the Faithful read at Mass. Then, the children are invited to write a prayer possibly for the celebration of Eucharist. Jesus’ prayer in St John’s Gospel provides a model for this (Jn 17: 26). For example, Jesus prays for the disciples that they may be one; that they may be united; that they might have joy; that they may be delivered from the evil one; that they may be consecrated in the truth; that they may know that God sent Jesus and that they may know they are loved. The structure of the Prayer of Faithful lies in praying ‘for’… ‘that’ something may happen. We can see that Jesus had many requests for the Father. Families too have many requests in prayer.

In Level 3 of the Catholic Preschool and Primary Religious Education Curriculum for Ireland (2015), under the Christian Faith Strand and Strand Unit, The Mystery of the Church /Kingdom, the curriculum outlines the, ‘Introduction to other Christian churches present in the local community: e.g. Church of Ireland; Methodists and Presbyterians, Orthodox Christians, Evangelical Christians, and Easter Rite Churches.

Children in Fourth Class/P6 are introduced to these five Christian Churches: the Catholic Church, the Church of Ireland, the Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church and the Orthodox Church. Resources are available specifically in Grow in Love Fourth Class/P6, Theme 8, Lesson 4.

In Fifth Class/P7, Theme 4, Lesson 4, pupils explore how Christmas is celebrated among Christians in a variety of ways. They explore the Coptic Christians celebration of Christmas.

In Grow in Love 8, Sixth Class, Theme 6, Lesson 4, the children are introduced to the main Christian denominations currently in Ireland. They explore the beliefs that are common to all Christians. Through exploration of the work of ecumenism, they see how the Church through dialogue and co-operation seeks unity among all Christians, as Jesus willed for the Church.

Children from five Christian Churches are interviewed on the VERITAS Grow in Love website:

Logon: www.veritas.ie

Email: trial @growinlove.ie

Password: growinlove

Children pray in school each day and many pray at home. With a concrete experience of praying, they explore Jesus’ teaching on prayer. When a disciple asked Jesus to teach him and his friends to pray, Jesus taught them the ‘Our Father’ (Lk 11:1-4). As the children are introduced to the Sacred Scripture they will discover the teachings of Jesus on prayer and discipleship.

Children recall by chatting with their parents, priests and deacons, pastoral workers and teachers about the gift of faith they received at Baptism, helping them to believe in God. Prayer is integral to the Grow in Love programme. Children take a moment ‘to listen to the voice of God as they become ‘quiet and still’. They recognise God’s presence in their hearts and in the world around them, in the beauty of creation and most especially in the person of the poor. They are called by God to ‘listen to the cry of the earth and the poor’. They listen to Pope Francis’ teaching on care of our common home in Laudato Si’. They pray the prayers of St Francis, ‘Praised Be’ and ‘Prayer of St Francis’. They take time to meditate on God’s Word.

Through the love of parents/guardians, extended family, friends and teachers, children experience God’s love. They appreciate and thank God for the love and the encounter they have with Jesus. They share the love with others and the Holy Spirit helps them to do this. Every day, the Holy Spirit invites the children and teaches them to know God as they pray and reflect on their lives in the light of Gospel values. The Church celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.

God’s love is for everyone. Jesus told his disciples, ‘Freely you have received; freely give.’ (Mt 10:8).


READ in Grow in Love or in the Bible

1 Corinthians 12:12, 15-16, 18-20, 25-27, Isaiah 9: 2-3, 6, Ephesians 4:5-7.

SING with Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé

‘They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love’; ‘Spirit- Filled Day’; Christ  Be Our Light’; ‘Connected’; ‘Wherever You Go’; ‘Grow in Love’; ‘Creation Story’; ‘Use What You’re Given’, ‘Come Holy Spirit’, ‘Trust in the Lord’,

PRAY with Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé


After the Readings

Reader: The word of the Lord.

People: Thanks be to God.


I ndiaidh na Léachta

Léitheoir: Briathar an Tiarna.

Pobal: Buíochas le Dia.


Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come,

thy will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass

against us;

and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil. Amen


Ár nAthair atá ar neamh,

Go naofar d-ainm,

Go dtaga do ríocht, go ndéantar do thoil ar an talamh

Mar a dhéantar ar neamh.

Ár narán laethúil tabhair dúinn inniu,

Agus maith dúinn ár bhfiacha,

Mar a mhaithimindne dár bhféachúna


Is ná lig sinn i gcathú,

Ach saor sinn ó olc. Áiméan.

‘Go into the world and teach all people; baptise them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, alleluia.’ (Benedictus antiphon).

‘When the Spirit of Truth comes he will teach you the whole truth; he will reveal to you things that are to come, alleluia.’ (Magnificat antiphon).

‘Keep me safe O God, for in you I take refuge.’ (Psalm 15:1)

“Now, faced as we are with global environmental deterioration, I wish to address every person living on this planet.’ (Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, no.3)

Sr Anne Neylon