Synodal journey discussed as Catholic and Church of England Bishops meet in Norwich

Forty-two bishops representing the Catholic Church in England and Wales and the Church of England met in Norwich from 30th-31st January for their biannual joint meeting.

Hosted by the Anglican Bishop of Norwich, the Right Reverend Graham Usher, the bishops gathered in this city of two fine historic cathedrals.

The meeting began in prayer at the Catholic Cathedral of St John the Baptist, before the group visited the shrine of 14th century mystic Julian of Norwich, a much-revered saint for both Catholics and Anglicans.

From the shrine, the bishops walked fraternally through the city centre to the Anglican Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity. Here the bishops participated in the first of three sessions on themes of common interest. The first focused on the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III.

The Coronation, a service rooted in tradition and Christian symbolism, was led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, who offered a reflection on the historic event. Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the first Catholic archbishop to have a formal role in a coronation service for 400 years, also gave a personal reflection.

The first day concluded with a beautiful service of Choral Evensong in the cathedral, where the Office, the set times of prayer, has been offered every day since it was built more than 900 years ago.

Morning Prayer followed by a celebration of the Eucharist, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, started the second day.

The second session looked at the Synodal journey in the Catholic Church. Short reflections were offered by three attendees who travelled to Rome for last October’s Synod: Archbishop John Wilson of Southwark, National Ecumenical Officer, Fr Jan Nowotnik, and Bishop Martin Warner of Chichester, the Church of England representative.

The final session focused on the Catholic Church’s newest English saint, John Henry Newman – a lecture on the Victorian educationalist was offered by theologian and renowned Newman scholar Monsignor Roderick Strange, Rector of Mater Ecclesiae College.

This was the seventh joint meeting since 2006, with previous meetings in Birmingham, Leeds, London, Leicester and Liverpool. These meetings aim to foster spiritual communion and to identify and develop programmes of joint witness and mission in this country, both regionally and nationally.


Pic: Marcin Mazur/