Cardinal John Dew of Wellington was the principal celebrant at an historic Catholic Mass in the undercroft of the Church of England’s Canterbury Cathedral in Kent. The vigil Mass, which was celebrated on October 1, took place in what Cardinal Dew described on Facebook as “a beautiful space normally used for silent prayer and reflection”.

Canterbury Cathedral is the mother church of the Anglican communion and the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Cardinal Dew was in England, and later in Rome, as part of an International Anglican and
Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) summit.

According to the Anglican Communion News Service, the week-long summit involved 19 pairs of Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops from around the world selected by IARCCUM to “work together in joint mission” and to “look ahead to opportunities for greater unity”.

The Anglican bishop representing New Zealand at the summit was Bishop Ross Bay of Auckland.

At Canterbury, among the activities at the summit, the bishops from both churches took part
in an evensong service and they also gave presentations on the pastoral challenges in their dioceses, their own experiences and their hopes for the way forward.

According to IARCCUM, the bishops stayed at the Lodge in Canterbury and took part in the liturgical life of the cathedral. They also made a pilgrim visit to the shrine of St Thomas
a Becket, where Pope John Paul II and Archbishop Robert Runcie prayed together.

On Facebook, Cardinal Dew described “these days in Canterbury” as “a rich experience of Anglican and Catholic bishops being together in prayer, in reflection and discussion”.

“The setting of Canterbury Cathedral is magnificent and to be warmly welcomed by cathedral
staff has been a sign of the will to work together towards unity.”

Later, among the summit’s activities in Rome, the bishops made a pilgrimage to the tombs of the apostles Sts Peter and Paul and also attended an academic symposium at the Pontifical Gregorian University.