The Church Unity Octave (also know as The Chair of Unity Octave) is one of the most special and richly indulgenced novenas of the Church year. It has accomplished an immense good in awakening Catholics to a mission consciousness and to the need of interesting themselves in the conversion of those without the Fold. In these days of darkness and confusion, when the enemies of Christ seem to be triumphing as never before, how great is our obligation to pour forth fervent prayer for the souls of the millions who wander in darkness, that God in his Mercy will grant them the grace of conversion. Let us take very seriously our responsibility with regard to the souls of our brethren, and make this yearly Octave truly a week of grace!
“In every age it has been the concern of the Roman Pontiffs, Our predecessors, and likewise it concerns Us greatly, that Christians who have, unfortunately, withdrawn from the Catholic Religion should at length be recalled to us as a forsaken Mother. For in the Unity of the Faith the foremost characteristic of the truth of the Church shines forth, and it is thus that the Apostle Paul exhorts the Ephesians to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, by proclaiming that there is One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism (Ephes. 4:5). With a glad mind, therefore, We have heard that prayers have been proposed to be recited from the Feast of the Chair of the Blessed Peter at Rome to the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, in order that this aim of Unity might be obtained from the Lord. We mercifully grant and bestow in the Lord a Plenary Indulgence and remission of their sins to each and all the faithful of Christ who from the eighteenth day of the month of January, the Festival of the Chair of Blessed Peter of Rome, until the twenty-fifth day of the same month, on which the Conversion of St. Paul is commemorated, shall recite once a day the prayers appointed.” ―Pope Benedict XV
The Chair of Unity Octave begins on January 18, the Feast of St. Peter’s Chair in Rome and concludes on January 25, Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.
January 18 - The union of all Christians in the one true faith and in the Church
January 19 - The return of separated Eastern Christians to communion with the Holy See
January 20 - The reconciliation of Anglicans with the Holy See
January 21 - The reconciliation of European Protestants with the Holy See
January 22 - That American / Filipino Christians become one in union with the Chair of Peter
January 23 - The restoration of lapsed Catholics to the sacramental life of the Church
January 24 - That the Jewish people come into their inheritance in Jesus Christ
January 25 - The missionary extension of Christ’s kingdom throughout the world
What We Pray For
The unity which all men desire in these dark days cannot be had apart from Jesus Christ; everyone who professes to be Christian admits this. But the unity which Christ offers is that of one fold and one shepherd. The Octave aims to secure for all men this unity of Christ.
As Fr. Paul said: "There is no other unity possible in the divine economy save that which is built upon the same foundation as the one on which Christ Jesus, the Lord and Master, founded His Church, and you know what that foundation is: . . . ‘And I say to thee that thou art Peter, and upon this Rock, I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven (by which He meant His Church) and whatever thou shalt bind upon earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever thou shalt loose upon earth shall be loosed also in heaven.’. . . When, therefore, you unite with us in the observance of the Unity Octave it should be to pray specifically that all those who, down through the centuries, have been separated from the Chair of Peter at Rome, may return to Catholic communion, that is to say, communion with the Apostolic See."
How to observe the Octave:
1. Recite official prayer daily.
2. Assist at Mass and receive Communion daily.
3. Pray the Rosary daily for Unity.
4. Attend Octave exercises in parish church or parish in vicinity; bring non-Catholic friends with you.
5. Visit the Blessed Sacrament; make the Way of the Cross; perform spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
6. Offer daily action for Unity.
7. Read Catholic literature.
8. Give good example to Catholics and non-Catholics.