The Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury will send out 17 pairs of Anglican and Catholic bishops across the world next month to work together on joint missions in their dioceses.
The plan was initiated by the International Anglican and Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission, which is made up of pairs of bishops from around the world.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, is due to meet the Pope on October 5 at the church of San Gregorio Magno al Celio, where they will celebrate First Vespers and launch the new missionary project.
The service will combine elements of Anglican Evensong and Catholic Vespers, and the choirs of the Sistine Chapel and Canterbury Cathedral will provide the music.
During the service the pairs of bishops will be blessed and formally sent out for mission.
The schedule of the archbishop’s visit to Rome has not been finalised but he is expected to stay for two days. He will be accompanied by 17 other Anglican primates and he will pray at the tomb of St Peter with the Pope, before a private audience.
The Archbishop of Canterbury’s visit will also mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Anglican Centre in Rome.
The location of his meeting with the Pope, at the San Gregorio al Celio, is significant because it is the place from which Pope Gregory sent the monk Augustine with 40 companions to evangelise Britain.
This visit to Rome will be the Archbishop’s third, following visits in June 2013 and June 2014.
Vatican cricket team beaten by Anglicans at Canterbury
St Peter’s Cricket Club was defeated by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s XI last week.
The third annual match, which took place at Canterbury, left the overall tally at 2-1 to the Anglicans.
The Anglicans won by 157 for four against the Vatican team’s 94 for seven.
Both teams then travelled up to Edgbaston cricket ground in Birmingham to play Mount Cricket Club, a Muslim side based in Yorkshire.
Fr Eamonn O’Higgins, team manager for St Peter’s Cricket Club, said it was not the winning that mattered.
In an interview with the website Christian Today he said the tour, “above and beyond the cricket, is an opportunity to witness to our Christian faith”. He added the “real finality of the tour” was “the people we meet and the good that we can do”.
Suleman Motala, secretary of Mount Cricket Club, said the main purpose of the tournament was to “promote love between people of different backgrounds and beliefs”.
The “Unity Through Cricket” matches were sponsored by the Church Times and Ecclesiastical insurance.
New ambassador meets Francis
Sally Axworthy presented her credentials as Britain’s ambassador to the Holy See to Pope Francis on Monday.
She said it was a “great privilege” to build on relations between Britain and the Holy See, adding: “Pope Francis is one of the most, if not the most, respected international leader. People pay attention to what he is saying and doing, and it is important that we engage with him and the Holy See network.”