Building Christian Unity During Advent

Tags: Currents, Archdiocese of New York, Bishop James Massa, Christians, Ecumenism, Faith

By Tim Harfmann

Hundreds of young Christians gathered at Immaculate Conception Church in the East Village, Manhattan to build the faith. “The atmosphere was amazing, joyful, and celebratory. It was just a great night to gather together in friendship, prayer, and faith,” said Megan Rodriguez, who attended the event.

A new group called the John 17 Movement put the whole thing together. The name “John 17” refers to the chapter of the Gospel when Christ prayed for His believers to unite. Joseph Tosini started the movement three years ago. “The John 17 Movement exists to inspire, develop, and display love an unity among all of His followers,” said Tosini.

A top Christian leader in attendance, Brooklyn Auxiliary Bishop James Massa, praised renewed dialogue. “We need something more relational, a way for leaders from the different Christian communities to come together, share their faith, share their best practices and ministry,” said Bishop Massa.

One of the highlights: men and women locking arms to share the personal intentions they hold inside their hearts. “It’s really powerful being able to voice some of your deepest emotions with people you may not even know, but there’s this bond because of our shared faith,” said Claire Boss. “It was a very, very eye-opening experience,” said Gerry Rodriguez.

The citywide gathering was a collaboration with the Archdiocese of New York’s Young Adult Outreach Program. “We live in the greatest city in the world. Just knowing that we’re going to be able to help others get to know Christ better and work together in that mission, not just Catholics but other Christian denominations, it’s just an awesome opportunity for unity,” said Colin Nykaza. He’s the director of the outreach program.

A time for unity as worshipers prepare for the birth of Christ.