IT HAD been Canon Alan Wilkinson’s idea. Some 120 Roman Catholics and Anglicans spent “A day with Mary” in St John’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Portsmouth
It was the first local ecumenical response to the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) document Mary, Grace and Hope in Christ, published in 2006, says Canon Wilkinson from Portsmouth Cathedral. The speakers were the Assistant General Secretary to the RC Bishops’ Conference, Mgr Andrew Faley, and the Revd Dr Paul Collins, an Anglican theologian from Chichester University.
They spoke about the place of Mary in scripture, art, and devotion, and reflected on her as a fellow pilgrim and disciple. More reflection after lunch on the miracle at Cana was led by the Dean of St John’s Cathedral, the Very Revd David Hopgood, and Canon Wilkinson, using a passage from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s book on praying with the icons of the Virgin.
They sang “Tell out my soul” and Thomas Ken’s “Her Virgin eyes saw God incarnate born”. Canon Wilkinson tells me that they discovered how much Marian theology and devotion is shared by Anglicans and Roman Catholics.
He was also struck by the number of women clergy who participated in the day, some of them saying how their priestly ministry had led to “a deep sense of identification with Mary in her vocation as the Christ-bearer”.