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Papal nuncio pays visit to Vancouver

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Catholics and non-Catholics hear call to work together in unity
By Agnieszka Krawczynski

The Pope’s representative to Canada paid a visit to Vancouver last week to meet with local Catholics, and a lot more than Catholics showed up.

Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi, the apostolic nuncio to Canada, greeted 250 guests at a reception at the John Paul II Pastoral Centre June 6, reminding them that anything they accomplish for the Church depends on being part of the body of Christ.

“Alone, we perform very little,” Archbishop Bonazzi told the guests, adding that in the words of Jesus, “‘You will accomplish works greater than I did.’ This is only possible if we see ourselves as the body of Jesus.”

His words were taken to heart by more than a few members of other Christian churches who flocked to the pastoral centre to meet the nuncio.

“I came because of my deep respect for the Pope,” said Tom Cooper, an ordained Presbyterian minister and president of City in Focus.

“I like the humility of the Pope, the accessibility of the Pope, and the Pope engaging with the issues of poverty and justice … I think he’s moving the Church to a wider biblical engagement. I’m a great fan.”

Doug Longstaffe, a United Church member, said many Protestants have an appreciation for Pope Francis. “How can you not like him? He’s like the reincarnation of Pope John XXIII! A wonderful man.”

Longstaffe added he was happy Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, invited Christians of various denominations to the meet and greet with the Pope’s representative.

“He’s invited so many of us from the interfaith community to be here. It’s a tremendous gesture.”
The nuncio, who left behind his nunciature in Ottawa to visit Vancouver, also hoped to build a sense of connection and friendship with Rome, a sentiment appreciated by local Catholics.

“Sometimes, I feel we are very far,” said Vincent Tourvieille, a member of the Neocatechumenal Way community at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Vancouver.

“It’s a grace to have the nuncio visiting us. We feel close to the universal Church. We feel close to the Holy Father.”

Teresita Nixon, director of the Aquinas Institute, said meeting the nuncio was like renewing her commitment to the Church.

It has “enkindled in my heart a deeper commitment to serve God, to contribute my talents to the Archdiocese of Vancouver, the nuncio, Pope Francis, the Church, and to help the poor around the world,” she said.

Earlier in the day, Archbishop Bonazzi addressed about 100 employees of the archdiocese.
“The papal nuncio is one who is called to participate in the mission of the Pope,” he told them. In the same way, “you are also called to participate in the mission of your archbishop” and in the work of the Church.

During his visit, Archbishop Bonazzi also had lunch with about 95 archdiocesan priests. He congratulated them on the recent ordinations of three new priests and encouraged them to not get caught up in administrative tasks, but to spend time in prayer and provide the sacraments with love.

“The person who is called to give plenty of water must stay longer at the source,” he said. “We ask for the grace of God to accomplish in us more than we can do.”

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 June 2017 08:50  

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