There are actually two possible sets of dates for the annual celebration of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The first is the January 18-25 date, which in our country is often moved to a few days after to avoid conflicting with the date of the Feast of the Sto. Niño. The second, suggested in the annual joint publication of liturgical materials for the Week (which they say can be used on any occasion this year), is an equally appropriate time, the ten days between Ascension, which ought to have been observed yesterday, and Pentecost.
The second set of dates should be more appropriate. Locally, it could have a more pneumatological angle than is normally had, a way I think to draw more pentecostally minded brethren who, rightly, saw their movement in the beginning as one sign of the unity of the Church. The longer period also allows us to do more activities, and summer-related ones too. Imagine a last summer fling with Methodist, RC, and Anglican youth groups! Yet another benefit is that it is in an alleluiatic season, so the mood is of “joyful hope” that even with what we have achieved so far, it is up to God to fulfill the promise made by our Lord.
Of course, it gives us Romans a chance to teach Anglicans how to properly sing my favorite Pentecost hymn—which is the title of this blog for the season. (For Ren’s Public Notebook readers, it is “Veni, Creator Spiritus.” Unfortunately, they sing something that, while of Reformation antiquity, it loses any links to the traditional. The 1982 ECUSA Hymnal has a setting to the simplified traditional chant, and David E. Ford’s By Flowing Waters has another faithful translation in modern English that fits another simplified traditional chant.
Music is another sign of Christian unity, even without realizing it. While Catholics often inherit Graham Kendrick’s compositions (called by a number of those on the Ship of Fools Message Board as, um, not tasteful), it is fair to realize, as I posted on this blog before the elections, that Fr. Honti’s “Pananagutan” is popular even among those outside his tradition!