Anglican Evensong in St. Peter’s

The Anglican Centre in Rome has a report and pictures up of yesterday’s historic celebration of Anglican Evensong in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The service was held in honour of St Gregory the Great on the nearest day to his old feast day. St Gregory was the Pope who sent St Augustine to England to evangelise the Anglo-Saxons and who has become an unofficial patron of the most recent ecumenical exchanges between the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches. His crozier-head was sent to Canterbury as a gesture of support during the Primates’ Meeting in January 2016 and Pope Francis gave Archbishop Justin Welby a wooden crozier modelled on it during their meeting in October. Archbishop Roche preached on the important ways in which Pope St Gregory, the servant of the servants of God, can guide relations between the two communion today.

The event follows closely the historic visit of Pope Francis to All Saint’s Anglican Church in  Rome.

At Evensong, the closing hymn was one we love at our parish Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in  Ottawa  and one that guided our entry into the Catholic Church in 2012

More from the Anglican Centre’s website:

The final hymn, during which the procession made its way to the tomb of St Gregory, was the great, rousing, “Thy hand, O God, has guided’. The final verse sums up so much of the feeling in St Peter’s today as Anglicans and Catholics praised God together in a way few would have expected even a year ago:

Thy mercy will not fail us,
Nor leave thy work undone;
With thy right hand to help us,
The victory shall be won;
And then, by men and angels,
Thy name shall be adored,
And this shall be their anthem,
One Church, one Faith, one Lord.

One Church. One Faith. One Lord.
Amen.

I am reminded of something I read in Fr. Louis Bouyer’s Memoirs.   A Lutheran convert to Roman Catholicism, Fr. Bouyer knew and was on good terms with prominent Protestant theologians such as Oscar Cullmann who was an influential observer at the Second Vatican Council.  Cullmann was the one who coined the phrase “reconciled diversity” that Pope Francis has often used  when talking about Christian unity.

However, because Fr. Bouyer was a convert, the powers that be kept him away from any ecumenical dialogue during the years of the Council. He lamented that having been a Lutheran who converted, he might be in the best position to participate, understanding both sides!

Every time I see something on the continuing ecumenical dialogue with the Anglican Communion and the Personal  Ordnariates set up under Anglicanorum Coetibus are treated as irrelevant or non-existent, I am reminded of Fr. Louis Bouyer.

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