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Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi is welcomed at All Saints Rome

Fr Marcus and Archbishop Bernard
I took advantage of being in Rome for ecumenical meetings to invite the new Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, and the Archbishop of Canterbury's Representative to the Holy See, to preach at All Saints on Sunday 8 October. Archbishop Bernard Ntahoturi has already begun his work at the Anglican Centre, of which I am a governor, and will be formally inaugurated in his new post by the Archbishop of Canterbury on the 26 October.

Archbishop Bernard has been a friend for many years as he served as Primate of the Province of Burundi as well as on the Anglican Consultative Council during the time when I was on the Anglican Communion staff. The Sunday celebration in All Saints was a wonderful opportunity to introduce Archbishop Bernard and his wife Mathilde to the congregation, itself a very international community.  All Saints parish will make them both welcome in the years ahead and will support Archbishop Bernard's vitally important ecumenical role.

Fr Marcus Walker, the Deputy Director of the Anglican Centre, well known already to All Saints, was the Deacon for the mass.

Some of the Sunday School welcome Archbishop Bernard
There were some surprising coincidences at the service that day. At All Saints there is a custom at the end of the Eucharist to ask visitors to introduce themselves and say where they are from. One couple, visiting from Ottawa, are in a parish where one of the priests was once a student of Archbishop Bernard back in Burundi. Another couple were from my former Diocese of Niagara, David and Jean Archbell. They were celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary in Rome. You can imagine their surprise when they turned up at All Saints and found that the one presiding was the person who, when just a curate, had prepared them for marriage 35 years ago! We agreed that none of us has changed over those years!

It seems it is true that "all roads lead to Rome".

The Archbells

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