A spacious square in front of the sea: this was the place chosen by the Uruguayan Council of Christian Churches to produce a video message during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Respecting the physical distancing measure, eight religious leaders gathered at Plaza Virgilio.
This week is commonly celebrated, in the Southern Hemisphere, from the day of the Solemnity of Pentecost (31 May 2020) to the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity (June 7 2020). The Christian denominations represented were the Roman Catholic Church, German Evangelical Congregation of Montevideo, Anglican Church, United Evangelical Lutheran Church, Waldensian Evangelical Church of the Río de la Plata, Methodist Church, New Apostolic Church, Emerging Pentecostal Church and First Armenian Evangelical Church.
Participants prayed with the following message from the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, reflecting on the need for unity:
“Jesus, in his prayer to the Father, asked that his followers be one: that we learn to live in unity as He and His Father are one. Jesus gave us a new commandment: that we love one another as he loved us. Jesus said that people would recognize in this who his disciples were: for the love with which they would treat one another. There is one body, one spirit and one hope. There is one Lord, one faith and one baptism. There is one God and Father of all, which is above all, and penetrates everything and is in everyone. The world’s adversity has made us more humble, more in need of God and more attentive to the needs of those who are by our side. It is time to be united and serve brotherly. Driven by the Spirit of Pentecost, strengthened by the example of many and aware of one’s own limits, we invite you to join us in prayer.”
This gesture of fraternity wasn’t an isolated initiative. On 28 March, seven leaders (including Jewish ones) recorded another video message of hope and mercy in the Plaza Independencia of Montevideo inviting people to stay safe at home, to follow the instructions of the national authorities, to enjoy the gratitude and to reinforce their family ties. They commended the work of the frontline heroes of the fight against COVID-19: the health staff “is dedicating body and soul to try to ensure those who are having a hard time can overcome this situation.”
What’s more, on 2 March, an interfaith prayer for the new government was held at Montevideo’s Cathedral, organized by Cardinal Daniel Sturla, Catholic archbishop, and the Uruguayan Conference of Catholic Bishops, with the support and participation of representatives from the Jewish Community and several Christian churches. President Luis Lacalle Pou took part in this event, accompanied by presidential secretary Álvaro Delgado and deputy secretary Rodrigo Ferrés.
For accompanying video footage, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHkhDfqNaxo
Born in 1998, Sebastián Sansón Ferrari (Uruguay) is a correspondent of the Latin American and Caribbean Catholic Communication Association (SIGNIS ALC), Vice-President of SIGNIS Uruguay (the Association of Catholic Communicators of the country). He is a contributor for the Spanish team of Vatican News, the official information system of the Holy See. His areas of interests are: communications, humanities, religion (focus on ecumenism and interfaith dialogue), culture and languages.