DISTINGUISHED VISITORS AT NOTRE DAME DE FRANCE, LONDON, 5 AND 10 MARCH
Fr Hubert Bonnet- Eymard SM writes: ‚ÄúLent began with the joy of welcoming two very special visitors. On 5th March Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP spoke on "Christians in the Muslim World: Signs of Hope".
With great enthusiasm and humour, Fr Timothy offered his support for ‚ÄúFACE‚ÄĚ (Fellowship and Aid to the Christians of the East), the young organisation which recently appeared in England and is a sister congregation of the "L'Ouvre d'Orient", founded in France in 1856.
While drawing on his many field visits; to Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Algeria, he stressed the importance of dialogue, prayer, music, study‚Ä¶ And with a lot of tact, he pleaded in favour of ‚Äėstaying‚Äô, in so far as this is possible. In this he made reference on the one hand to the situations that force many people to leave their country, and on the other, to Christians from the West tempted to leave the Church.
A few days later on Sunday 10th March the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, gave us the pleasure of his visit, during the principal Sunday Mass, he encouraged us to pray wholeheartedly for unity amongst Christians. We remembered that on 18 February 1970, the church of Notre Dame de France (https://www.ndfchurch.org/en/) hosted the historic meeting between Cardinal Marty, Archbishop of Paris and President of the French Episcopal Conference, and Dr Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of the Anglican Communion.
Drawing on the Liturgy of the Word for this first Sunday of Lent (Dt 26, 4-10, Luke 4, 1-13), AB Welby developed a profound reflection on the question of identity, speaking about the identity of peoples and nations as well as personal identity. He pleaded for an identity which is open to ‚Äėotherness‚Äô, rather than an identity that feeds on fear and may be tempted to close in on itself.