Burkina Faso is responsible for preparing the 2024 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. For this occasion, Moses & Evelyne ZIDA, members of the Chemin Neuf Community, talk about their discovery of ecumenism.

In our families and communities, we had long enjoyed cordial relations with people of other faiths.

There was already an acceptance of each other: at the dinner table, for example, one or other of us, regardless of religion, prayed, and sometimes we even prayed for each other.

Personally (Moses), I still remember a teaching that I received during my catechism classes which never leaves me and which leads me not to hate others in general but to love them without discrimination, whether they are Christians or not:

One day, the catechist drew us a circle with crosses inside and a single cross outside the circle. This was to tell us that when we love everyone and exclude someone like that cross on the outside, then it’s Christ we’ve excluded! 

As for the term ecumenism, it was during the teachings we received on Sundays that we became aware of the word, without understanding its real meaning or its intended purpose. 

It was when we arrived at CANA Week in 2013 that our couple understood a little more about ecumenism for the first time. Those in charge had presented Chemin Neuf to us as a Catholic community with an ecumenical vocation, working for Christian unity.

So we understood the need to pray for Christian unity. 

From then on, we prayed for this unity without limiting ourselves to cordial relations.

We pray with brothers and sisters of other Christian denominations with whom we have journeyed until now. 

We also take part in the Office for Christian Unity, either in community or during missions (CANA weeks and retreats).

Along the way, we have come to understand ecumenism better, and we know that it is by living with others in a spirit of communion that we fulfil the Lord’s will, as he himself asked his Father to do: 

“May they all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be one in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me.” Jn17, 21.

We welcome this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in 2024, the texts of which have been prepared by the brothers and sisters of our country, which we consider as a grace for our country.

We will be praying for Christians to work together more for peace, because the country is going through a difficult security crisis due to terrorist attacks, and we are convinced that prayer will help us to overcome adversity, with Christ, but also to better proclaim the Gospel!

Moses ZIDA, married to Evelyne (CCN Burkina Faso)