Melbourne Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli joined Anglican Archbishop Philip Freier in lighting a unity candle at a ceremony marking reconciliation and understanding between the two churches. Source: Melbourne Catholic.
In April 1985, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, visited Melbourne. During this visit, Melbourne Archbishop Frank Little and Anglican Archbishop David Penman lit a candle together to be a symbol of unity. For one year this candle remained in a “unity chapel” in St Patrick’s Cathedral, before being transferred to St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, where it still has a home.
Now, over 30 years later, Archbishop Comensoli and Archbishop Freier have lit a new candle together during a Service of Prayer for Reconciliation and Understanding between Anglicans and Catholics on Sunday, using a flame carried from the original “Unity Candle” in St Paul’s.
The service on Sunday was the idea Anglican Vicar of St John’s Camberwell, Fr John Baldock, and Camberwell parish priest Fr Brendan Reed. Together, they planned to hold a service of evening prayer to mark the Annual Day of Prayer for Reconciliation between Anglicans and Catholics, celebrated on November 4.
The service was characterised by some special features. The form of the service was Evening Prayer, based on Evening Prayer for All Saints Day, which is shared in common by both Catholics and Anglicans: psalms, hymns, readings and intercessions. Fr Baldock and Fr Reed shared the presiding role, with members of the two parishes reading the lessons and offering the intercessions, and ending with each archbishop giving a homily.
In his homily, Archbishop Freier spoke of the work of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission and the most recent resource they have produced called “Walking Together in the Way”. He recommended this resource to all local Anglican and Catholic parishes and suggested that groups be formed to work with the document, which closely addresses the lived reality of our relationship as Christians together in our society today.
Archbishop Comensoli then spoke on a theme more closely related to the Feast of All Saints. He spoke of each of us, by virtue of the unity we have with each other and with Christ in baptism, being called to be saints.