On Wednesday 13th November the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Right Reverend Justin Welby, visited Rome and met with Pope Francis at Casa Santa Marta. The Pope and Archbishop spent more than 30 minutes together in private conversation before the Pope greeted members of the Archbishop’s delegation. The delegation included Archbishop Welby’s wife, Mrs Caroline Welby, Archbishop Ian Ernest, the new Director of the Anglican Centre, and his wife Mrs Kamla Ernest, and Bishop Michael Burrows, the Chair of Governors of the Anglican Centre.
Afterwards Archbishop Welby said of the meeting, “We discussed our shared passion for peace in South Sudan and agreed that if the political situation permits the creation of a transitional government of national unity, it is our intention to visit together. Our commitment to the teaching of Jesus means we long to see a lasting solution to the conflict in South Sudan. We renew our call for spiritual and political leaders there to strive for peace.” It is hoped that Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby will be able to visit South Sudan in the early part of 2020. The Holy See's press office released an official communiqué relating to the visit.
Archbishop Welby was in Rome both to present Archbishop Ian Ernest to the Pope as his new personal representative to the Holy See, and to install Archbishop Ernest as Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome. The installation took place during a service of Anglican evensong held at the church of Sant'Ignazio. Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, preached at the service and noted the way in which, through ecumenical dialogue, our two communions had grown in mutual appreciation of one another. The celebration of Anglican evensong in the Jesuit Church of Sant'Ignazio was a sign of that growth and was an exchange of gifts.
The service included greetings from ministers of other communities in Rome and from Bishop Brian Farrell on behalf of the PCPCU.