Today we begin what was called for decades the Church Unity Octave, 18-25 January inclusive. The purpose of the octave is to pray for the unity of the whole Catholic Church. This octave was originally approved by St. Pope Pius X in 1909. Benedict XV extended it for use in the universal Church in 1916. It’s observance is option, but it was highly recommended.
January 18 through 25 Official Octave Prayer (to be recited daily)
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. (John 17:21)
V. I say unto thee that thou art Peter,
R. And upon this Rock I will build My Church.
Let us pray: O Lord Jesus Christ, Who saidst untoThine Apostles peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you, regard not our sins, but the faith of Thy Church, and vouchsafe to grant unto Her that peace and unity which are agreeable to Thy Will Who livest and reignest, God, forever and ever Amen
First Day of the Octave (January 18th) The Feast of St. Peter’s Chair at Rome.
Intention of the Day: the return of the “other sheep” to the One Fold of Christ.
Prayer for the Return of the Other Sheep
Priest: Let us pray: O God, in Thy mercy thou dost set aright those who have gone astray and Thou dost save those whom Thou hast gathered together. We beseech Thee to pour down upon all Christian people the grace of union with Thee, so that putting aside disunion and attaching themselves to the true shepherd of Thy Church, they may be able to serve Thee humbly and lovingly. Through Christ Our Lord. People: Amen.
Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary
Priest and People: O Immaculate Virgin, who wast preserved by a singular privilege of grace from original sin, look down with pity upon our separated brethren, who are still thy children, and call them back to the Center of Unity. Many have, even from afar, preserved a most tender devotion towards thee, O Mother; reward them for their devotion by obtaining for them the grace of conversion. Victorious over the powers of hell from the very first moment of thine existence, renew, now that the necessity is more urgent, thy triumphant progress, as in ages past. Glorify thy Son, O Mother, by bringing back to the One Fold His straying sheep. And may it be thy glory, O Virgin Mary, to banish error from the earth, to put an end to disunity and to restore peace to the world. Amen.
Priest: Our Lady of the Atonement intercede for us.
People:That there may be fulfilled the prayer of thy Divine Son, “That all may be one.”
Prayer to St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles
Priest: O glorious St. Peter, as a reward for thy lively and generous faith, thy profound and sincere humility, and thy ardent love, thou wast singled out by Our Lord and endowed with most special privileges. Thou wast also constituted Prince of the Apostles with primacy over the whole Church, of which thou wert made the Rock and Foundation. Obtain for us, we pray, a lively faith and an ardent zeal so that all of us will labor for the return of our separated brethren. May the desire of Our Divine Redeemer, that there might be but “one Fold and one Shepherd,” be for us, as it wast for thee, the inspiration to work and pray for the return of all those who are still outside the Fold. Strengthened by Divine Grace, may they be led back speedily to the bosom of our common Mother, the Catholic Church. People: Amen.