Today begins the traditional Chair of Unity octave, originally planned to last from the feast of Saint Peter’s Chair at Rome until the feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul on January 25. The devotion has evolved into the “Week of Prayer,” since the removal from the calendar of the feast that opened the octave. But in the 1962 rubrics, a priest may offer the votive Mass of Saint Peter’s Chair at Rome (which we had this morning), so we still have our octave in the traditional rite. Readers may find an inelegant but useful PDF file with the appropriate prayers. Regarding these prayers, be it observed that they are not vague requests for an undefined unity, but explicit petitions for the conversion of all (baptized and non) to Catholic faith and unity under the Supreme Pontiff, the Bishop of Rome and Successor of Saint Peter.

With the conversion to Rome of certain Anglican groups finally a reality thanks to Anglicanorum Coetibus, the octave takes on a fresh luster. In the third day of the octave, we pray for the conversion of all Anglicans. Besides that, Father Paul of Graymoor developed this devotion while yet an Anglican. His subsequent conversion and founding of a Catholic religious order proved that, at least in his case, the prayers worked.

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