3 December 2008

The annual meeting of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Bishops’ Dialogue of Canada took place in St. Boniface-Winnipeg November 25-27 2008. The Archbishop of the Diocese of St. Boniface, Mgr Émilius Goulet, P.S.S., hosted the meeting, welcoming the bishops to the diocese and to the Cathedral for a public ecumenical service of Vespers. Archbishop Goulet and Anglican Primate Fred Hiltz co-chaired the meeting.

The bishops took the opportunity to update each other on the important events which have taken place over the past year for Anglicans and Roman Catholics. Anglican bishops reflected on their experiences of the Lambeth Conference and shared their reflections on the latest developments in a Covenant for the Anglican Communion. Roman Catholic bishops reported on their participation in the Synod of Bishops on Holy Scripture, World Youth Day and the Eucharistic Congress. They also introduced materials reflecting on the Year of Saint Paul promulgated by the Holy See. Together the bishops reviewed the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission’s document Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ in light of a Response drafted recently by the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada.

In each of these conversations, the bishops explored the question: what does it mean to do mission, to be a missional church, within the Canadian context? Discussion of the “Five Marks of Mission” for the Anglican Communion, and the ways in which Mary brings a humanizing face to the life of the church and the world moved the bishops to commit to finding ways to strengthen the common mission of the churches. The International Anglican Roman-Catholic Commission for Unity in Mission recently produced the document Growing Together in Unity and Mission. The Bishops’ Dialogue will be working to bring the affirmations and commitments of the document to greater prominence across the two Churches in Canada. What are we doing together already, as Anglicans and Roman Catholics in local mission? What more can we do? What must we do?

Planning is already underway for next year’s meeting, which will take place in Vancouver. The Bishops’ Dialogue was introduced to work being done by the Catholic Bishops of British Columbia and the Yukon, and by the Catholic Women’s League, to raise awareness about issues of human trafficking. Those watching preparations for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver have already raised concerns about social matters, from economic and housing matters to human trafficking and the sex trade industry, as well as the question of spiritual care for those participating in and attending the Olympics.

Praying together, reflecting on mission together, and giving public witness to the ecumenical vision – these were the highlights of the 2008 Anglican-Roman Catholic Bishops’ Dialogue. Deep thanks is offered to Archbishop Émilius Goulet for his hospitality, to the community of Oblate Sisters at the Aulneau Centre, to Fr. Luis Melo of the Diocese of St. Boniface, and to the Rector and community of the Cathedral of St. Boniface.

Anglican-Roman Catholic Bishops’ Dialogue 2008 participants


Mgr Émilius Goulet, P.S.S. Co-Chairs Most Rev’d Fred Hiltz
Mgr Pierre-André Fournier Rt. Rev’d George Bruce
Most Rev. Gary Gordon Rt. Rev’d James Cowan*
Mgr François Lapierre, P.M.E. Rt. Rev’d Dennis Drainville
Most Rev. John Pazak, C.Ss.R. Most Rev’d Bruce Stavert**
Mr. Jonas Abromaitis Staff Dr. Eileen Scully