The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, visited St Carthage’s Catholic Cathedral in Lismore on Friday as part of his two-week Australian tour.
Less than a month after presiding at Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, the senior Anglican found himself giving comfort to a vastly different audience that included families of the Northern Rivers of NSW, whose lives were devastated by the biggest floods in living memory earlier this year.
Archbishop Welby and his entourage visited St Carthage’s Cathedral, which flooded in February for the first time in its 115-year history. Archbishop Welby was accompanied by his wife, Caroline, the Anglican Bishop of Grafton Dr Murray Harvey and clergy from the local Anglican diocese and from the United Kingdom.
He was received by Lismore’s Catholic bishop, Bishop Gregory Homeming OCD as well as Bishop Emeritus Geoffrey Jarratt and cathedral administrator, Fr Bing Monteagudo.
Bishop Homeming welcomed the archbishop in an ecumenical midday prayer service, led in part by senior students from Lismore’s Catholic schools.
“We stand together, two bishops with a common experience of our Lord Jesus Christ, the one that we love, the one that we follow, but the one that we share our experience of with others,” Bishop Homeming said.
Archbishop Welby was gracious in his response, acknowledging how Catholic social teaching principles had been “one of the greatest influences” on his ministry.
“One of them is the principle that we care about the common good,” he said
“We care for justice. And we believe that all things God gives us are for all people. Walking around the basin of this town today I feel overwhelmed with the grief that people have suffered, deeply moved by their courage, their loyalty to one another and their resilience. We have much to learn from you. I will take it back and make sure that we do that.”
Anglican Archbishop prays with Catholics in flood (Lismore Diocese)