Going over to Rome

Meeting with Mgr Guido Marini, the Master of Pontifical Ceremonies, above St Peter's Square. From left to right: Fr Philip Moger, Revd Anne Dawtry, Very Revd David Richardson, Revd Tim Lomax, Dana Delap, Very Revd Rogers Govander, Revd Paul Thomas, Gill Ambrose, Revd Canon David Kennedy, Rt Revd Graham Kings, Revd Professor Paul Bradshaw, Revd Canon Gilly Myers, Revd Peter Moger, Rt Revd Bob Patterson, Revd Anders Bergquist, Rt Revd Stephen Platten, Revd Simon Jones, Revd Gary Waddington, Mgr Guido Marini, Revd Canon Carl Turner, Sue Moore, Fr Paul Gunter, Mgr Mark Langham, myself (expertly pressing the button on my camera was Revd Rhiannon Jones)

It was my privilege, as a member of the Church of England’s Liturgical Commission, to attend a series of meetings in Rome at the end of April.  This included some of the regular domestic business to resource worship in the Church of England as well as dialogue with counterparts in the Vatican.

Members of the Liturgical Commission were treated to some of Rome’s most spectacular sights, including visits to the catacombs underneath the tombs of the Popes in the basement of St Peter’s Basilica, a rooftop view of St Peter’s Square from underneath the Papal Apartments and the city-scape from the rooftop garden of the UK Ambassador’s residence.

The visit demonstrated the trust and respect that is held of one another as members of two different churches.  There is a great deal that is held in common both in belief and practice.

Perhaps the most stark difference that emerged through our discussions about worship was in the importance attached to cultural context.  In the Vatican the aspiration of universal practice was stressed; that is to say the hope that worship would be as uniform as possible throughout the world.  And indeed part of the job of the leaders we met was to promote that.  In the Anglican Communion local context is allowed to strongly shape how the Church worships.  So patterns of worship for the Church in Nigeria carry recognisably African references that are not present in the Church of England.

These meetings were particularly timely as the Holy Father prepares to visit the UK in September.  There is a widespread hope across the Church of England that his visit inspires many more to think an reflect on the Christian faith whether expressed in Roman, Anglican or other church tradition.

The privilege of being up close at a Papal Audience.
The privilege of being up close at a Papal Audience.
The crowds who come to hear the Holy Father in St Peter's Square every Wednesday morning.
The crowds who come to hear the Holy Father in St Peter's Square every Wednesday morning.
Thought to be one of the earliest depictions of Jesus, this mosaic is on the ceiling of a catacomb deep beneath St Peter's Basilica in Rome.


1 thought on “Going over to Rome

  1. audrey wall

    It was great looking at the pictures of Rome you had taken while there. As always your knowledge and enthusiam of showing us the pic’s where inspiring. I felt as though I knew Rome the way you shown us the pic’s,and I would love to go myself one day.


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