THE Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity observed between the feast of St. Peter's Chair in Rome and the Conversion of St. Paul (January 18-25) is to be more widely observed than ever this year.
Added impetus has been given to the movement in view of the coming General Council of the Church announced by Pope John XXIII at the conclusion of the last Octave, January 25, 1959.
Further details were set out in the encyclical letter Ad Petri Cathedram of June 29 and, since then, His Holiness has written specifically about the Octave: gladly make our own the words of Pius XII expressing the wish that this practice be spread as widely as possible. In view of the forthcoming General Council we urgently invite the faithful of every race to join in this period of prayer."
In a recent letter to Fr. Angelus Delahunt, S.A., Father General of the Atonement Friars, Pope John emphasised that "Prayer. in fact. is the first and principal means to be used to bring about this yearnedfor unity." He noted that this was clearly perceived in 1908 by the Octave founder, Fr. Paul of Ciraytnoor, just before his conversion.
Pope St. Pius X blessed the movement the following year. Successive Popes have also given their encouragement.
Because of the demand expected the Secretary in England, Fr. Herbert Keldany, has arranged for the printing of a much larger number of leaflets than last year and in greater variety. Details are given below.
Interdenominational Chair of Unity public meetings are being held this year in many large towns in England. These include Oxford, Cambridge and Birmingham.
BBC & ITV
In London Mr. John Todd will he the Catholic speaker at St. Pancras Town Hall at 6.30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 20. The Anglican Bishop of Bristol will preside and the Anglican speaker will he Mr. H. Blamires, with Mr. J. M. Ross representing the Presbyterians.
Although the BBC have marked Chair of Unity week with special speakers in the "Lift up your Heart" series in the early morning. they have not included one Catholic speaker.
ITV have done better. In the "About Religion" programme to be televised on Sunday, January 17