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Young people lament pain of church division before Rome meeting


International organizations representing young people from all main Christian traditions say they are anguished at not being able to share in the Lord’s Supper together.

"Many of us feel pain when we are not able to celebrate the Eucharist together and be united at the Lord’s Table," the groups said in a joint statement to mark the 100th anniversary of the 18-25 January Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  The message was sent to the heads of the Roman Catholic Church, the World Council of Churches, Christian World Communions and Regional Ecumenical Organizations.

"While we know that you, as senior church leaders, are committed to Christian unity, we still experience disunity among Christians," the youth groups stated in the message made available to Ecumenical News International on 24 January.

Pope Benedict XVI and WCC general secretary the Rev. Samuel Kobia are to meet in Rome on 25 January, at a ceremony to celebrate the anniversary of the week of prayer.

The youth groups said in their statement they wanted to encourage young people worldwide to express Christian unity at local and national levels.

"United by the need to respond to today’s pressing concerns, young Christians are collectively addressing HIV and AIDS, climate change, social, gender, and economic equity, and many other issues, bringing God’s message of hope and reconciliation to a fragmented, hurting world," they stated.

The message was signed by the International Catholic Conference of Guiding; International Movement of Catholic Agricultural and Rural Youth; International Movement of Catholic Students; International Young Catholic Students, the Lutheran World Federation – LWF Youth; World Alliance of YMCAs; World Council of Churches Youth Desk; World Young Women’s Christian Association; the World Student Christian Federation.

Ecumenical News International