Cardinal Fitzgerald: Offer prayers and give thanks to God for Eastern Christians

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In his message to mark the International Day of Prayer for Eastern Christians that takes place on Sunday, 5 May, Cardinal Michael Fitzgerald urges the Catholic community to pray for our Eastern Christian brothers and sisters.

His Eminence also points out that we owe them a huge debt of gratitude for their lasting contribution to the Church and the Body of Christ.

“The day offers us in the West an opportunity to think of the Eastern Churches and to give thanks to God for all that we owe them,” writes the Cardinal. “We thank them for the first preaching of the Gospel, the origins of the monastic tradition, the early Church Fathers, and above all, the witness of the Eastern Christians down the centuries, which has been, and still is, an inspiration to our faith.”

Cardinal Fitzgerald, who headed up the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue from 2002 to 2006, also provides a prayer in his letter.

Cardinal Fitzgerald’s Message

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I am very happy to announce to you that the next annual International Day of Prayer for Eastern Christians will take place on Sunday 5 May 2024 (Sixth Sunday of Easter), with the participation of Christians from all over Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and India.

The Day of Prayer offers Eastern and Western Christians an opportunity to be united in prayer during Easter.

It also offers us in the West an opportunity to think of the Eastern Churches and to give thanks to God for all that we owe them: the first preaching of the Gospel, the origins of the monastic tradition, the early Church Fathers, and above all the witness of the Eastern Christians down the centuries, which has been, and still is, an inspiration to our faith.

In commending this Day of Prayer to you, may I suggest that you bring it to the attention of your family and friends, perhaps sharing with them the following prayer:

Heavenly Father,
We pray today for peace in the world, especially in the Middle East and Ukraine. By your heavenly grace, strengthen the faith and hope of Eastern Christians. May they be blessed with peace and prosperity in their countries. May we be inspired by their devotion and witness to the Gospel, by their love and compassion for all in their communities, and by their courage, their endurance and self-sacrifice. Through their charity, tolerance and friendship, bring peace and reconciliation to those troubled lands, where Christianity was born and first spread. This we ask of you through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

I trust that this Day of Prayer will bring comfort and assurance to Eastern Christians. In our solidarity and communion, may we all be renewed by the hope we place in the Risen Christ.

With the assurance of my prayers and with my warmest wishes for a joyful celebration of Easter,

Yours in Christ,

Michael Cardinal Fitzgerald, M.Afr.