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[LINK] “English Anglicans breathe new life into French chapels”

This AFP report, written by Suzanne Mustacich, is certainly interesting.

The priest is a married woman, the Anglican service is in English, yet the old stone chapel in Bordeaux is definitely 100 percent French Roman Catholic.

In southwest France, once a battlefield between medieval English and French armies, expats are breathing life into borrowed Catholic churches left empty by their local flocks, quietly sprouting a dozen Anglican congregations.

As sunlight filtered through the stained glass windows of the 19th century chapel, Reverend Gill Stratchan unpacked the chalice she would use for the Sunday service while her husband sorted prayer books.

“I was ordained a priest in a magnificent abbey in the Dordogne in 2007,” said Stratchan, a retired British schoolteacher resident in France since 1996.

Two Catholic priests and a bishop attended her ordination in their abbey. “It was a fairly unique situation for them to see a woman ordained,” she said.

But the broad-mindedness on the part of the French was not entirely unexpected. “What brings us together is stronger than what divides us,” said Father Lanuc, in charge of ecumenical relations for the Archbishop of Bordeaux.

“An English Anglican has the right to take Holy Communion in a French Roman Catholic church, which is not allowed anywhere else,” added Reverend Paul Vrolijk, Chaplain of the regional Anglican Diocese and unofficial diplomat.

Mustacich goes on to describe how the Anglicans of southwestern France, products of the recent large-scale emigration of Britons to this region, are fitting into a predominantly Roman Catholic area. The idea of female priests, for instance, is starting to cause some curiosity.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 31, 2009 at 8:59 pm

Posted in Assorted

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