On 30 September 2023, an ecumenical evening prayer was held in Rome in the presence of Pope Francis and representatives of various churches. Archbishop Bernd Wallet was invited as President of the Union of Utrecht to participate and was involved in the preparations.
On 15 January, in the run-up to the Roman Catholic Synod of Bishops, Pope Francis had called on young people and church leaders to pray in Rome for unity and the synodal process: “The path to Christian unity and the path of synodal conversion of the Church are linked. I would like to take this opportunity to announce that on Saturday 30 September, an ecumenical prayer vigil will be held on St. Peter’s Square, with which we will entrust the work of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. For the young people coming to the vigil, there will be a special programme throughout that weekend, entrusted to the Taizé community. As of now, I invite brothers and sisters of all Christian denominations to participate in this “Gathering of the People of God.”
Besides Archbishop Wallet, church leaders from various “church families” attended the celebration in St Peter’s Square. These included Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Anne Burghardt, General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation. Thousands of young people, including delegations from several member churches of the Utrecht Union, were present.
The service can be viewed on YouTube: