Anglicans and Catholics celebrate at Regina's St. Paul's Cathedral
By Frank Flegel
"God rejoices in this gathering and God rejoices in what flows from this," said Saskatoon Bishop Donald Bolen in his homily to the Anglican-Roman Catholic joint prayer service held in St. Paul's Anglican Cathedral May 6, 2012. This is the third time the two churches have come together for joint services since the January 11, 2011 signing of a Covenant between the two.
The service attracted a full house in St. Paul's Cathedral, the oldest place of worship in Regina.
Bolen was the homilist for the service. Both Regina Archbishop Daniel Bohan and Qu'Appelle Bishop Gregory Kerr-Wilson have credited Bolen for the initiative that led to the signing of the covenant. Bolen was Vicar General of the Regina Archdiocese at the time. He used his expertise and knowledge gained while working in the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in Rome in initiating the discussions that led to the covenant. He was appointed Bishop of Saskatoon before the covenant was signed.
"There is a great deal of joy in this gathering and I am joyful to be here," said Bolen in opening his homily.
The first reading of the evening came from the Book of Wisdom and he used it as the basis for his homily. He recited various tenets of faith shared by the two communions and asked, "Is it not wise to give expression to that?"
It was an expression he used frequently throughout his homily. He referred to the four decades of discussion at the international level that led to closer relations between Anglicans and Roman Catholics and again asked, "Is it not wise that we honour our forefathers who knocked down barriers?" Is it not wise: to work together on the issues arising from the residential schools, to pray together, to profess our faith together in a secular society when saying Jesus in public is called into question. He said the road ahead would be difficult but "God is with us every step of the way." He emphasized unity, not uniformity.
Bohan and Kerr-Wilson both referred to Jesus' prayer to his disciples the night before he died, that they be unified. Kerr-Wilson opened the evening with a welcoming greeting referring briefly to the covenant and Bolen's presence, and Bohan closed the evening, remarking that the road ahead is difficult but "Jesus taught us to persevere."
The service included several hymns led by a choir of members from St. Paul and Holy Rosary Cathedrals. Members of the Covenant Committee read several scriptural lessons and Marina Rennie sang the Psalm responses.
Anglican Deacon Michael Jackson emceed the service.
An "ecumenical" cake was cut and served by Bohan and Kerr-Wilson at a reception following the service.