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JANUARY 18th—25th:
OCTAVE WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY 

Each year between January 18th -25th the Church observes an Octave Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. In the Catholic Sanctoral Calendar the week is buttressed by two important feasts of the Apostles Peter and Paul: January 18th is the (traditional) Feast of St. Peter’s Chair at Rome and January 25th is the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. Thus, the Octave Week of Prayer is symbolically grounded in the authority of the two Princes of the Apostles Peter and Paul who share a Martyrs’ Feast Day on June 29th. 

The Feast of St. Peter’s Chair at Rome on January 18th was instituted by Pope Paul IV in 1558. The earlier date of a Feast of St. Peter’s Chair on February 22nd was kept but distinguished as the Feast of St. Peter’s Chair at Antioch where Peter had earlier acted as Bishop. The “Chair” of Peter was a literal piece of furniture upon which Peter sat to teach. The remains of this venerable Chair are preserved in a huge reliquary, which was the work of the artist Bernini. The “Chair of Peter” is also the intangible charism of Peter’s authority, the “Petrine Office” in the Church which is part of God’s Providential Plan. It is summed up by the pithy Latin phrase: “Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia.” (Where Peter is, there is the Church). Christian unity finds its magnet in the Chair of St. Peter. It is good for us to begin the Octave Week of Prayer for Christian Unity with a clear affirmation of the Petrine Office as Christ’s own. 

About Our Parish

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes is Newton and Needham Massachusetts's oldest Roman Catholic Parish. Founded as Saint Mary's Parish in 1870 it was renamed "Mary Immaculate of Lourdes" when the new Church was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, 1910. In addition to being a regular territorial parish of the Archdiocese of Boston it is also a "Mission Parish" since 2007 with a special apostolate for the Traditional Latin Mass (1962 Missal).

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"If you are willing to serenely bear the trial of being displeasing to yourself, then you will be for Jesus a pleasant place of shelter."
- St. Therese of Lisieux (+1897)

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