Pope Francis and Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury together charged 19 pairs of Catholic and Anglican bishops to return to their home countries and work together to promote joint prayer, joint proclamation of the Gospel and, especially, joint works of charity and justice.
“Today we rejoice to commission them and send them forth in pairs as the Lord sent out the 72 disciples,” the pope and archbishop said in a common declaration signed on 5th October at the end of an evening prayer service.
“Let the message go out from this holy place, as the good news was sent out so many centuries ago, that Catholics and Anglicans will work together to give voice to our common faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, to bring relief to the suffering, to bring peace where there is conflict, to bring dignity where it is denied and trampled upon,” Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby said in their statement.
The vespers service, in Latin and English, was celebrated at Rome’s Church of St Gregory on the Caelian Hill, the church from which St Gregory the Great sent St Augustine of Canterbury and his fellow monks to evangelise England in 597.
Picture: Pope Francis kisses the pectoral cross of Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, England, spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, at a vespers service at the Church of St Gregory in Rome on 5th October. Archbishop Welby presented his pectoral cross as a gift to the pope. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).