Greetings to you all from Rome. I am here for the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, and have also been able to manage a few other visits to Congregations such as Causes of Saints and the Doctrine of the Faith.
The Pontifical Council meeting began with Mass at the altar of the Tomb of St Peter. We have spent time reflecting on how the 1700th Anniversary of the Council of Nicea might be observed, and part of this discussion was led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Rowan Williams, who reflected with us on Nicea and Synodality. Today (Wednesday) we were joined by Cardinal Mario Grech as we reflected on the 2021-2023 Synod the world is preparing for, and there was a special emphasis in this time on the Ecumenical dimension of the Synod.
Tomorrow we will be joined online by His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk of Ukraine which I am sure, due to the current crisis in Ukraine, will be a challenging and very interesting time. Please continue to pray that this war will come to an end and that there will be peace.
We will conclude on Friday afternoon with an audience with Pope Francis, which is always a highlight of these Assemblies. I know that the Pope will ask me how the people of New Zealand are, and will ask if he has the prayers of New Zealanders. I will assure him that he is always in our prayers as he faces the challenges of the Church in the world today. So please make sure you do make a special effort every day to offer a prayer for him.
Apart, from all of that I am enjoying spectacular days here in Rome. It is clear and lovely and warm, and I have found time to go for a long walks in parks. I really love walking in a massive wide open space with ponds and trees and old Roman villas called Villa Doria Pamphili. I visit this place as often as I can when I come to Rome to enjoy the wide open spaces and the spectacular beauty.
Finally, please pray for me too while I am at these meetings.
With every blessing