On December 30, 2013, the Vatican Information Service announced Pope Francis's prayer intentions for January 2014. These are the prayer intentions that Catholics should keep in mind this month whenever we pray for the intentions of the Holy Father—as, for instance, when we pray the final prayers of the rosary.
Pope Francis's general prayer intention for January 2014 is "that all may promote authentic economic development that respects the dignity of all peoples." This was one of the themes of the Holy Father's apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, and the few short paragraphs (202-208) discussing it were the subject of nearly endless debate in the wake of the document's release. Rather than listen to the spin others put on the text, why not make prayerfully reading Evangelii Gaudium, and especially that section, part of the way in which you unite your prayers with those of Pope Francis this month?
Pope Francis's prayer intention for evangelization for January 2014 is "that Christians of diverse denominations may walk toward the unity desired by Christ." The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity takes place every year from January 18-25. As we join our voices to those of Christ Himself, Who prayed that all Christians may be one as He and His Father are one, we can join in the Holy Father's prayer intentions by praying A Devout Exercise for the Unity of the Church and a Prayer to Obtain the Reunion of the Christians of the East.
(Pope Francis venerates the Christ Child during Mass for Epiphany at St. Peter's Basilica, January 6, 2014. Franco Origlia/Getty Images)