Meeting another person is encountering Jesus himself, and “he awaits our response”, Cardinal Peter Erdő, the head of the Hungarian Catholic Church, said at the opening of the ecumenical prayer week in Budapest on Sunday evening.
“Jesus expects us to have as much love for all other people as we owe him,” the cardinal told participants in the service. Only those able to give love to others can live a full life, “those that do not shun the old and the sick, that will have children and love them,” he added. A full life, however, requires “Jesus taking over the heart”, he warned.
Bishop Tamás Fabiny, the leader of the Hungarian Evangelical Church, said “today’s service and the prayer week will not be creditable unless we speak up for the persecuted, the suffering, the miserable”. He warned that a testimony of God should be made every day rather than “praising him only during a service”.
The service was attended by President Katalin Novák, and István Nagy, the minister of agriculture. The prayer week has been organised by the Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the Ecumenical Council of Hungarian Churches. January 15 has been observed as a day of prayer for persecuted Christians since 2018.