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Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

“They showed us unusual kindness” (Acts 28:2) The resources for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity have been prepared by different Christian Churches in Malta. The history of Christianity in this small island nation dates back to the time of the apostles. According to tradition, St Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, reached the shores of Malta in the year 60 CE. The narrative describing this eventful and providential episode is conveyed to us in the final two chapters of the Acts of the Apostles. This text signals the beginning of Christianity in Malta – a small country made up of two main inhabited islands, Malta and Gozo, as well as other islets – at the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, halfway between the southern tip of Sicily and Northern Africa. This biblical land lies at the crossroads of civilizations, cultures and religions. Our prayers and reflections, today, and during this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, are centred on the hospitality shown by the islanders towards those who had just been shipwrecked: “They showed us unusual kindness” (cf. Acts 28:2). May the love and respect we show each other today as we pray for Christian unity be with us throughout the whole year.
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SHANGHAI, YESTERDAY AND TODAY

SHANGHAI, MY CITY! Before the Second World War, Shanghai was considered as one of the world’s five famous cities. It was a glamorous port of entry, a door opened to the West. The Opium War forced the corrupted Ching Dynasty to lease part of Shanghai to the French and part to the English. This occupation had a great impact on the city of Shanghai. Soon, we saw French and English style houses being constructed, Catholic and Protestant Churches were erected, missionary schools were opened, and the establishment of two famous universities took shape: Aurora University by the French Jesuits and St. John University by the Anglicans. People started to learn English or French and the incoming foreign missionaries began their work of evangelization. THE ORIGIN OF MY FAITH Born in a Catholic family I was raised within a religious milieu. For the first six years of my life we lived in a French style Park Apartment which still exists to this day as a heritage building. Each apartment had a balcony overlooking the large circular garden in the middle. My parish, St. Peter’s Church, was at a walking distance and the pastor was French speaking. As a child, I attended the morning Mass and afternoon Benediction with my family. Every evening we would say the rosary and night prayers together. The Church became the center of our life. The Church bells were like God’s soothing voice which made me feel that He was always close by. It was there that I received my religious education from two nuns who were forced to be laicized, but remained in Shanghai as consecrated virgins. They were later arrested.
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New Years benediction

May the God who gave us this year and the Saviour who walked at our side each day and the Spirit who filled us with life abundant, grace the coming year with peace and hope and joy, Amen. Lord, You make all things new You bring hope alive in our hearts And cause our Spirits to be born again. Thank you for this new year For all the potential it holds. Come and kindle in us A mighty flame So that in our time, many will see the wonders of God And live forever to praise Your glorious name. Amen Read more at: https://www.lords-prayer-words.com/times/new_year_prayer.html
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