Chair of Unity Octave|
Every year, from the feast of St Peter's Chair at Rome on
January 18, to the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul on January 25, we observe a special
week of prayer for the conversion of non-Catholics to the Faith.
St. Peter is the Foundation Stone of Christ's True Church (cf. St. Matthew 16: 18-19 and St. John 20: 17). The Feast of St. Peter's Chair at Rome on January 18th was instituted in response to the ridiculous rumor spread by ignorant Protestant heretics that St. Peter had never come to Rome. Yet, following his seven year reign in Antioch, St. Peter did in fact travel to Rome to establish his See, and there shed his blood for our Crucified Savior Jesus Christ. This Feast also enshrines the solemn dogma of Papal Infallibility, and the Supreme Apostolic Authority conferred upon St. Peter by Our Divine Lord. St. Paul the Apostle likewise came to Rome towards the close of his apostolic career, and was also martyred there for Christ. The Feast of his Conversion is observed on January 25th. Holy Mother Church has always united her praises for the Prince of the Apostles, St. Peter, with Her veneration for the zeal and holiness of St. Paul, a "vessel of election" for the spread of the infant Church. Thus, She has reserved eight days of solemn prayer--from the Feast of St. Peter's Chair at Rome until the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul--for the observance of "The Chair of Unity Octave" in which eight days are set apart for solemn prayers entreating God to unite His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
These eight days of solemn prayer for Unity possess a doctrinal significance which is of critical importance. As Catholics know, one of the chief essential "Marks" (or visible qualities) of the Church established by Christ is that Unity for which He prayed at the Last Supper. As Jesus asked "that they may be one...", His prayer was immediately granted by the Eternal Father, as it was the request (on the very eve of His death) of His Only Begotten Son, to Whom nothing is refused. Therefore, His Church has now, and will always have, that Unity (or oneness) of teaching, worship, and government which is so evidently a sign of truth, "the same yesterday, today, and the same forever." It was for this reason that Christ established Peter as "the Rock", or Foundation of His Church, against which the Gates of Hell could never prevail.
Consistent with Christ's words, therefore, the only unity for which the Church and her faithful children can pray, is that which results from the conversion of those who are outside the One, True Fold of the Church. Thus, each of the days of the Chair of Unity Octave is dedicated to prayers for the conversion of some poor segment of mankind which is still "walking in darkness," imploring that they may open their hearts to God's grace, and return to the true Shepherd of their souls. This is the exercise of true charity. To imagine, as do the liberal ecumenists of our day, that we can achieve "unity" by pretending that those outside the Church do not stand in desperate need of conversion, is to deny the foundation of Christ's True Church, and to renounce the very reason for the heroic apostolic labors and martyrdom of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.
The Church also prays for that unity which draws her faithful children closer together in a spirit of humility and charity, by their fervent living of the great "law of love" taught by Jesus Christ Our Lord. Finally, we are exhorted to pray and to work for that unity which results from our own humble obedience, respect, and loyalty to the Apostolic Authority of the Church, which will, in fulfillment of Christ's promise, remain with us as His very own Presence, even unto the consummation of the world.
Note from the editor: We have been informed the intentions listed here before were not the same as those approved by the Supreme Pontiff in 1908. Since it is imperative we all be praying for the same intentions, I have restructured the Novena somewhat.
The official 1908 intentions for each day are as follows:
- January 18: For the return of the “other sheep” to the One Fold of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- January 19: For the return of the Eastern Orthodox Christians to communion with the Apostolic See.
- January 20: For the return of the Anglicans to the authority of the Vicar of Christ.
- January 21: For the return of all Protestants throughout the world to the unity of the Catholic Church.
- January 22: That Christians in America may be one, in union with the Chair of Saint Peter.
- January 23: That lapsed Catholics will return to the Sacraments of the Church.
- January 24: That the Jewish people will be converted to the Catholic Faith.
- January 25: That missionary zeal will conquer the world for Christ.
the most strong and sincere fraternal love, we offer our hearts; we pray that Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament may be our daily food for body and soul, that Jesus may be the central object of our love, as was that of Mary and Joseph; and lastly, we pray that sin may never disturb our union in Thy Mystical Body on earth, that union which will endure with Thee, Mary, and Joseph, and all the Saints, forever in Heaven. Amen. (300 days, once a day)
Eternal Father, by Thy infinite mercy, and by the infinite merits of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, make Thyself known and loved by all souls, since it is Thy will that all should be saved. Glory be...
Through the sacred mysteries of human redemption, send, O Lord, laborers into Thy harvest, and spare Thy people. Eternal Word Incarnate, Redeemer of the human race, convert all souls to Thyself, since for them Thou wast obedient, even to the death of the Cross. Glory be...
Through the merits and intercession of Thy most holy Mother, and all the Angels and Saints, send, O Lord, laborers into Thy harvest, and spare Thy people. O Holy Spirit of God, by the infinite merits of the Passion and death of Jesus Christ, diffuse Thy most ardent and all powerful charity in all hearts, that there may be one Fold and one Shepherd throughout the world, and that all may come to sing Thy Divine mercies in Heaven forever. Amen. Glory be...
Prayer to the Queen of Apostles
Mary, Queen of the Apostles Queen of the Apostles, and all ye Angels and Saints, pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into His harvest and spare His people, that we may all rejoice with Him and the Father and the Holy Ghost forever, unto ages of ages. Amen.
Immaculate Mother of God, Queen of Apostles, I know that the Divine precept, by which I am bound to love my neighbor as myself, obliges me to procure by every possible means, not only my eternal salvation, but also that of my neighbor. But I confess that, through my sins, I am not worthy of the grace to labor effectually and constantly for the eternal salvation of my soul and of the souls of my relations and neighbors; much less am I worthy of the grace to promote good works, and to increase the means, both spiritual and temporal, of restoring faith and rekindling charity among Catholics, and propagating the truth throughout the world. Do thou then, O Mother, obtain for me this grace through the mercy of God and the infinite merits of Jesus Christ; and in union with the heavenly court and all the just, who are or will be in the Church of God, from henceforth I intend to offer these same merits of Jesus as a thanksgiving, in anticipation of this grace obtained by thee for us, as thou didst obtain it for the Holy Apostles.
And so, trusting in thy powerful intercession, I resolve from henceforth to use whatever I have from God of power, talents, learning, riches, position, health, sickness, or sorrow, for the greater glory of God and the salvation of my soul, and that of my neighbor, more especially by working for the propagation of piety and the true holy Catholic Faith throughout the world. And when all other means to this end fail me, I will never cease to pray that there may be one Fold and one Shepherd. By so doing, I hope to reach Paradise, there to enjoy the fruit of the Apostolate of Jesus Christ for all eternity. Amen. Three Hail Mary's and one Glory be... (Plenary indulgence once a month - Pope Leo XIII; 200 days, once a day during Octave; plenary at end of Octave.)
PRAYER FOR THE CHURCH UNITY OCTAVE
(Official Octave Prayer)
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 has 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 unto Thine 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.
An indulgence of 300 days during the octave of prayers for the unity of the Church, from the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter in Rome to the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. A Plenary Indulgence on the usual conditions at the end of the devout exercise.
Prayer to Mary, Help of Christians
Immaculate Virgin, Mother of God and our Mother, Mary, thou seest the attacks that are everywhere made by the devil and the world upon the Catholic Faith, in which, by God's grace, we intend to live and die, in order that we may attain to eternal glory. Do thou, the Help of Christians, renew thine ancient victories and save thy children. They entrust to thee their firm purpose never to enroll themselves in societies hostile to our holy Religion; do thou, who art all holy, present to thy Divine Son our good resolutions, and obtain for us the grace we need to be unshaken in their observance, even to the end of life. Console the visible Head of the Church, sustain the Catholic Episcopate, protect the clergy and people who proclaim thee Queen; by the power of thine intercession hasten the day when all nations shall be gathered at the feet of the chief Shepherd. Amen. Mary, Help of Christians, pray for us! (500 days.)
Prayer to St. Peter
O glorious St. Peter, who, in return for thy lively and generous faith, thy profound and sincere humility, and thy burning love, wast honored by Jesus Christ with singular privileges, and, in particular, with the leadership of the other Apostles and the primacy over the whole Church, of which thou wast made the foundation stone, do thou obtain for us the grace of a lively faith, that shall not fear to profess itself openly, in its entirety, and in all its manifestations, even to the shedding of blood, if occasion should demand it, and to the sacrifice of life itself in preference to surrender. Obtain for us likewise, a sincere loyalty to our Holy Mother, the Church; grant that we may ever remain most closely and sincerely united to the Heir of thy Faith and thy Authority, the one, true, visible Head of the Catholic Church, that mystic Ark outside of which there is no salvation. Grant, moreover, that we may follow, in all humility and meekness, Her teaching and Her counsels, and may be obedient to all Her precepts, in order to be able here on earth to enjoy a peace that is sure and undisturbed, and to attain one day in Heaven to everlasting happiness. Amen.
Let us pray:
V. Pray for us, St. Peter the Apostle.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
O God, Who hast given unto Thy blessed Apostle Peter the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and the power to bind and loose, grant that we may be delivered, through the help of his intercession, from the bonds of all our sins, Who livest and reignest forever and ever. Amen. (500 days.)
"My God, make us to be of one mind in truth and of one heart in charity."
(300 days - St. Pius X.)
January 25 Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul
Prayer for the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul
O glorious St. Paul, who, from being a persecutor of the Christian name, didst become its most zealous Apostle, and who, to carry the knowledge of Jesus, our Divine Savior, to the uttermost parts of the earth, didst joyfully suffer prison, scourgings, stonings, shipwreck and all manner of persecutions, who didst finish thy course by shedding the last drop of thy blood: obtain for us the grace to accept, as favors bestowed by the mercy of God, the infirmities, sufferings and misfortunes of this life, that we may not grow slack in our service of God by reason of these vicissitudes of our exile, but that we may rather show ourselves all the more devoted, through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
V. Pray for us, St. Paul the Apostle.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray.
O God, Who has taught the multitudes of the Gentiles by the preaching of blessed Paul the Apostle: grant unto us, we beseech Thee, that we who keep his memory sacred, may feel the might of his intercession before Thee. Through Christ Our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, One God, forever and ever. Amen. (500 days - plenary if recited daily for one month.)
Prayer for Concord and Unity among the Faithful
Our Lord and our God, to Thee, united by
Prayer for Perseverance in our Holy Faith
Our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ O my Redeemer, will that terrible moment ever come, when but few Christians shall be left who are inspired by the spirit of faith, that moment when Thine indignation shall be provoked and Thy protection shall be taken from us? Have our vices and our evil lives irrevocably moved Thy justice to take vengeance, perhaps this very day, upon Thy children? O Thou Author and Finisher of our Faith, we conjure Thee, in the bitterness of our contrite and humbled hearts, not to suffer the fair light of Faith to be extinguished in us. Remember Thy mercies of old; turn Thine eyes in compassion upon the vineyard planted by Thine own right hand, and watered by the sweat of the Apostles, by the precious blood of countless Martyrs and by the tears of so many sincere penitents, and made fruitful by the prayers of so many Confessors and innocent Virgins.
O Divine Mediator, look upon those zealous souls who raise their hearts to Thee and pray without ceasing for the maintenance of that most precious gift of Thine, the true Catholic Faith. We beseech Thee, O God of justice, to hold back the decree of our rejection, and to turn away Thine eyes from our vices and regard instead the adorable Blood shed upon the Cross, which purchased our salvation and daily intercedes for us upon the altars. Ah, keep us safe in the One, True, Holy Catholic Faith. Let sickness afflict us, vexations waste us, misfortune overwhelm us! But preserve in us Thy holy Faith; for if we are rich with this precious gift, we shall gladly endure every sorrow, and nothing shall ever be able to change our happiness. On the other hand, without this great treasure of Faith, our unhappiness would be unspeakable and without limit!
O good Jesus, Author of our Faith, preserve it pure within us; keep us safe in the Barque of Peter, though presently in eclipse. Yet keep us faithful and obedient to the Petrine Primacy and raise up a holy man to unite the flocks for the freedom and exaltation of holy Mother Church. O Jesus, Author of our Faith, humble and convert the enemies of Thy Church; grant true peace and concord to all of the remnant Catholic faithful; strengthen and preserve us in Thy holy service to the end, that we may live in Thee, and die in Thee. O Jesus, Author of our Faith, let us live for Thee, and die for Thee. Amen. (St. Clement Mary Hofbauer) (500 days, once a day)
CHURCH UNITY OCTAVE PRAYERS