Stories of common faith/prayer from the Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogues
On Monday 15th June, to mark the reopening of churches for individual prayer, Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby prayed together in Westminster Cathedral and Abbey to mark this ‘moment of grace,’ as the Cardinal said in his homily for Corpus Christi. As the West Doors opened for the first time in nearly three months, they were greeted by Acting Administrator Fr Daniel Humphreys and Precentor Fr Andrew Gallagher. Proceeding into the sacred space, they knelt in socially-distant prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.
Leaving the Cathedral, they walked across Victoria Street to Westminster Abbey. Arriving at the Abbey, they were greeted by the Dean of Westminster Dr David Hoyle, who took them to the Shrine of St Edward the Confessor where they prayed in silence. Praying together was a visual reminder of the importance of prayer in churches and to emphasise the significance of this day.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Right Reverend Justin Welby led a retreat with Pope Francis in Casa Santa Marta this week (10-11 April) for the political leaders of South Sudan. The Reverend John Chalmers, former Moderator of the Church of Scotland was also in attendance. The ecumenical retreat was the fruit of an unprecedented collaborative effort by Lambeth Palace and the Secretariat of State.
Thousands of Christians from Uganda and neighbouring countries are arriving in Namugongo for special services to commemorate the Ugandan Martyrs. In 3 June 1886, the Kabaka – or King – of Buganda, Mwanga II, killed 32 young Anglicans and Roman Catholic men – who worked as his pages – by burning them alive at Namugongo. They were among 23 Anglicans and 22 Roman Catholics who were put to death by the king for refusing to recant their faith between 1885 and 1887.
Yesterday, services were held at both the Anglican and Roman Catholic shrines in Namugongo, led by bishops from both Churches. Other similar events will be held in the coming days, leading up to national commemorations on Sunday.
Pope Francis will make a historic visit to an Anglican Church in Rome on Sunday. He’ll join the congregation at the Church of England chaplaincy of All Saints for a short Choral Evensong service; it will include the blessing of a specially commissioned icon and the twinning of All Saints with the Catholic parish of Ognissanti, a Rome church with strong ecumenical ties. The event comes as part of the 200th anniversary celebrations for All Saints which began with a small group of worshippers holding the first Church of England liturgy on October 27th 1816. The current church, close to the Spanish steps, was built over half a century later, designed by one of the most famous British architects of the Victorian era, George Edmund Street. All Saints is the largest Anglican congregation in Italy and part of the [Church of England’s] Diocese in Europe. The church, led by its chaplain, Rev. Jonathan Boardman, and assistant chaplain, Rev. Dana English, was recently granted legal recognition from the Italian State. Diocesan Bishop Robert Innes will be welcoming Pope Francis, together with his suffragan Bishop David Hamid.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is encouraging Christians of all denominations to join in with a ten day global prayer initiative “Thy Kingdom Come” from Ascension Day to Pentecost. What began last year as an invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the Church of England has grown into an international and ecumenical call to prayer. Last year more than 100,000 people joined in and in 2017 it’s expected to be on a bigger scale. Launching the initiative, which runs from 25 May to 4 June, Archbishop Justin said: “When the wind of the spirit is blowing, hoist the sails and go with the wind. It’s not a Church of England thing, it’s not an Anglican thing, it’s a Christian thing.”
According to a story often repeated in the diocese of Quebec, when the first Anglican bishop, Jacob Mountain, arrived in Quebec City in 1793, he was greeted on the dock by his Roman Catholic counterpart, Bishop Jean-François Hubert. “Your people are waiting for you,” said Hubert, welcoming Mountain to his new home. While relations between French Catholics and English Protestants in Quebec have not always been so cordial, the leadership of the two churches have long understood the practical need to work together in a province where religion historically has played an outsized role in public life.
Pope Francis presides at the celebration of Vespers with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the meeting between Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey, and the institution of the Anglican Center in Rome.
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew joined Pope Francis in Assisi yesterday (Tuesday) to lead an assembly of religious leaders in prayers for peace. More than 500 Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Jain, Shinto and Zoroastrian leaders from around the world had gathered in the birthplace of St Francis for the World Day of Prayer for Peace event, which attracted around 12,000 participants. The Pope, Patriarch and Archbishop each gave a meditation on the theme of peace during an ecumenical prayer service to close the three-day prayer gathering, which had been organised by the Community of Sant’Egidio. This week’s event came on the 30th anniversary of the First World Day of Prayer for Peace, which the then-Pope, John Paul II, convened in 1986.
About 23 years ago, says Archbishop David Moxon of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, he and the local Roman Catholic bishop made an agreement that still makes him feel hopeful. The two church heads decided to share the rite of imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday – a tradition that continues in New Zealand today. Outstanding doctrinal differences prevent the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches from being able to actually take communion together. But Moxon, who is also the Anglican co-chair of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC)-the two faith groups’ international ecumenical body-is encouraged about the prospect of ongoing dialogue. The relationships made between New Zealand Anglicans and Roman Catholics through sharing the Ash Wednesday rite, he says, led the two churches to spearhead a joint mission that involves nine Christian charities and serves about 7,000 people in the city of Hamilton, New Zealand.
Anglicans from the diocese of Qu’Appelle and Roman Catholics from the archdiocese of Regina celebrated Pentecost Sunday together at Holy Rosary Cathedral in Regina. The joint service was the result of the covenant between the two dioceses, signed in January 2011. The two dioceses occupy roughly the same geographic area in southern Saskatchewan.
The covenant was signed by Anglican Bishop Gregory Kerr-Wilson and Roman Catholic Archbishop Daniel Bohan. The agreement commits the dioceses to specific initiatives. These include annual shared services with the two bishops, keeping and upholding each church and its leaders in prayer, working together on various issues, and jointly working with First Nations elders to promote reconciliation and healing. The bishops commit to maintaining communications, especially when new developments in one church may present challenges for the other. Anglican and Roman Catholic parishes are encouraged to undertake joint activities in worship, mission, education and social justice.
The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Anglican Communion Office announced in a communique today that the most recent report of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), entitled “Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ,” will be presented on May 16, 2005 in Seattle, U.S.A., where the Commission last met and completed its work on the document. Cardinal Walter Kasper is the president of the pontifical council.
The Pope, His Holiness John Paul II sent a message of greeting to the historic May 2000 gathering of Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops in Mississauga, Toronto, Canada. On the eve of his 80th birthday, the Pope expressed his hope that the meeting would “bear lasting fruit” and hasten unity of the two churches.
“For more than 30 years the Anglican and the Catholic Church have been on a journey towards the restoration of unity,” said the Pope in a statement read by Cardinal Edward Cassidy to 2,000 worshippers in St Michael’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Toronto. “In some places there have been very positive developments … in other places we are not so far along the road [and] new and serious obstacles have slowed our progress. I pray that the spiritual bonds that have always lifted Catholics and Anglicans will be strengthened and deepened even further.”
Roman Catholic and Anglican bishops, paired from thirteen regions around the world, have begun their meeting in Canada in which they are reviewing and evaluating the accomplishment of thirty years of ecumenical relationship between Anglicans and Catholics in their areas. The pairs of bishops come from New Zealand, Canada, England, United States, Ireland, India, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Southern Africa, Uganda, Australia, Brazil and the West Indies.
The bishops are gathered in private session at the Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre near Toronto, Ontario, under the joint chairmanship of Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey and Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy, President of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Their first day has begun with a morning of prayer and scriptural reflection. The following days will begin and end with common prayer.