Photo Credit: Neil Turner
This week’s “Growing Together” summit has seen pairs of Anglican and Catholic bishops gather for a series of ecumenical discussions and visits to holy sites in Rome, that have significance to the common roots shared by both traditions.
Today, before the summit moves to Canterbury for the second phase of the programme, the bishops gathered to pray at the Church of San Gregorio al Celio during their last day in Rome. It was a fitting location, as San Gregorio al Celio is the church from where St Augustine was sent to England by Pope Gregory the Great in 597, to be the first Archbishop of Canterbury.
During the service, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop Anthony Poggo, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, along with Archbishop Donald Bolen and Bishop David Hamid (Co-Chairs of IARCCUM) stood at the Chair of Gregory the Great.
The Catholic and Anglican bishop pairing from England (Bishop Peter Collins, East Anglia and Bishop Stephen Race, Beverley) read from the Letter of St Gregory the Great to St Augustine of Canterbury.
During their time in Canterbury (26-29 January), the bishops will make pilgrimage visits that include a candlelit tour of Canterbury Cathedral, a Vigil Mass of St Thomas of Canterbury parish and Cathedral Eucharist, where Cardinal Stephen Chow will preach.
The summit will also continue ecumenical discussions on joint witness and mission, and work on the preparation of a Joint Statement, for how the bishops will take forward the fruits of their discussion in their home dioceses.
Speaking of their highlights from the programme in Rome, the Chairs of the Summit, Archbishop Donald Bolen, Archbishop of Regina, Canada and Bishop David Hamid, Suffragan Bishop in Europe said:
“During the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Gathering together like this as Anglican and Catholic bishops is extremely important, especially at such a time as this when the world is so fragmented. Visiting Rome has been a special opportunity to meet and pray at holy sites that hold significance to both our faith traditions. The commissioning we have received this week from Pope Francis and The Archbishop of Canterbury reminds us again that the faith we share is a sending faith that goes out into the world to serve, bring transformation and share the saving love of Christ. We are looking forward to our ongoing discussions in Canterbury.”
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