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Catholics and Anglicans are to pray together for the conversion of the nation

Justin Welby and Cardinal Vincent Nichols

The bishops of England and Wales have asked Catholics to join in an Anglican week of prayer for the conversion of the country.

Fr Christopher Thomas, general secretary of the bishops’ conference, told Vatican Radio that the bishops had responded positively to an appeal from the Anglican bishops to join a week of prayer, “Thy Kingdom Come”, leading up to Pentecost.

In a letter to every serving Anglican parish priest, the Church of England bishops called for “a week of prayer for the evangelisation of our nation” from 8-15 May. It will focus on the Lord’s Prayer, the Anglican bishops say. “Imagine every Anglican, perhaps even every Christian, in this nation praying that prayer together with the specific intention that all may come to know Jesus as Lord,” they said.

The Anglican bishops note that the Lord’s Prayer “is reassuring enough to be on the lips of the dying and yet dangerous enough to be banned in cinemas” – a reference to last year’s decision not to permit a Church of England cinema advertisement based around the prayer.

The Church of England has proposed several ways in which churches can participate in the week of prayer, including a “prayer space”, making a plan to pray for five friends, and a novena starting on Friday and ending on Pentecost.

The “Thy Kingdom Come” week is a fruit of the Anglican archbishops’ Task Group on Evangelism, which has emphasised the priority of mission.