Catholic leaders in south-east Queensland have celebrated a decade-long reaffirmation of a “covenant of understanding” with the local Anglican church. Source: The Catholic Leader.
“We are in new territory where everything, even the ecumenical journey, looks different than it did,” Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge said during a homily at St John’s Anglican Cathedral, Brisbane, on May 29, marking the signing of an agreement between churches 10 years ago.
“But that doesn’t make the journey any less urgent now or any less a gift and a call from God. “If anything, the journey is now more urgent even if more difficult, the gift and call more evident even if more puzzling.”
In 2009, the Archdiocese of Brisbane, Diocese of Toowoomba and the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane signed a covenant committing the churches “to work more diligently towards unity and the common witness that comes as its fruit”.
Efforts to forge local ties between Catholic and Anglican churches stretch back much further than 10 years and gained momentum after a landmark meeting between Church leaders in Europe.
On May 29, 1982, Pope John Paul II became the first pontiff to travel to Canterbury Cathedral where he met with the then Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie.
On the second anniversary of that historical meeting, Archbishops Francis Rush and John Grindrod signed a Common Declaration at St John’s Cathedral in Brisbane, which highlighted the warm relationships that had long existed between Brisbane’s Anglican and Catholic communities.
When former Brisbane Archbishop John Bathersby and Anglican Archbishop Phillip Aspinall signed the covenant 10 years ago, the Diocese of Toowoomba was included because it shares common territory with the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane.
The decade-long covenant calls firstly for local Catholic and Anglican communities to pray for one another.
The covenant includes several commitments that are honoured each year: an annual clergy day to reflect on the pastoral, social or theological issues churches face together; an annual service of reconciliation held alternately between Catholic and Anglican cathedrals; and ecumenical committees from the churches meeting regularly.
Fr Bernie Gallagher, Banyo-Nundah parishioner Dr Rod Perry, seminarian Sean Woods, Fr Odinaka Nwadike, Bishop Robert McGuckin, St Patrick’s Cathedral Toowoomba parishioner Gabrielle Saide, Archbishop Mark Coleridge, seminarian Nathan Webb and Deacon Tom Duncan at St John’s Anglican Cathedral, Brisbane, for the 10th anniversary of the covenant. Photos: Michelle McDonald.
Churches mark 10th anniversary of historic ecumenical covenant in south-east Queensland (The Catholic Leader)