The Very Revd David Richardson’s installation takes place in historic Rome church
In the splendour of the Church of Santa Maria Sopa Minerva, Rome, the Very Revd David Richardson, former Dean of Melbourne, (Australia) was installed and blessed as the new Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome (ACR) on 7 May 2008. He also will serve as the Archbishop of Canterbury's personal representative to the Holy See (The Vatican and the Pope). The use of this church, where the sacred remains of St Catherine of Siena rest, is the titular church of Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor of Westminster, and was offered to the Anglicans for this special service.
Cardinal Walter Kaspar, head of the Pontifical Council for Church Unity, was participated in the liturgy and gave a warm welcome to the new director. He was accompanied by the Revd Canon Monsignor Donald Bolen. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams gave the homily and the lesson was read by Mrs Fung Yi Wong, a member of the ACR Board representing the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC).
In his homily, Archbishop Rowan told the 300 string congregation, that the work of the church must be accomplished with "a deep awareness of the spirit and the cross, not just warm feelings" as well as warning about what some see as "fearful exclusion". In his words to Father Richardson he said that one must show "Christ like love at work at the disposal of each other, trying to discover how God's gifts can be put into the service of others". The archbishop encouraged the new director to "interpret and share what you learn here to the wider Anglican Communion". Speaking of Blessed Julian of Norwich, Archbishop Williams recalled her words, "Love was his meaning" and reminded the congregation to "surrender to the crucified" and to do all we do in "a spirit of generosity".
In his charge to Father Richardson, Archbishop Williams said, "to serve the cause of Christian unity is to serve the mission and ministry of the whole church. It is a privilege and a joy, and in our unhappy divisions it is an urgent responsibility."
Leading the installation was the Rt Revd Stephen Platten, Bishop of Wakefield, Chairman of the Board of Governors. The Rt Revd Pierre Whalon, Bishop of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe was present, as was the Rt Revd Edward Holland and Mary Reath and a delegation from the American Friends of the ACR.
Bishop Platten spoke of the "notable predecessors" at the ACR and the "task of bringing the living traditions and witness of Anglicans to the service of all churches, especially here in the see city of the Bishop of Rome".
Also present were representatives from the St Egidio Community, the Focalare Movement and members of the Friends of the ACR. A reception was held in the main gallery of the Palazzo Doria Pamphilli, a major art gallery, where the physical ACR is located thanks to the generous cooperation of family.
The outstanding choir and servers came from the two Anglican congregations, All Saints Church and St Paul's Within the Walls. Both congregations have high profiles in the wider Rome community especially in the areas of mission to immigrants and support of young musicians and artists.
Archbishop Williams and Cardinal Kaspar shared in giving the final blessing at the service. The new director and his wife, Margaret, have already begun to receive pilgrims, students and guests.
Earlier in that week Archbishop Williams had a meeting with His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican. The Building Bridges initiative had their meeting the same week and on Friday, Archbishop Williams met with Cardinal Dias, who is coming to the Lambeth Conference as a key-note speaker, and other officials of the Roman Catholic Church.