Your Eminence, Excellency, Fathers, Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
I have been asked by the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society to, on their behalf, welcome all of you who have travelled to this celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Apostolic Constitution which, thanks to our beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict and the ongoing support of the Holy Father, has become a part of the New Evangelization.
In addition, we want to thank you, Cardinal Collins, for your initial and continuing support of the small communities of Anglicans and others who are finding their way into the full communion of the Catholic Church through the ministry of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.
I have to smile as I think of the various paths that have brought us here in late 2019. I am, like many now living in Toronto, an immigrant, a Montreal-born Expos fan – a transplant. So, for our American visitors I feel compelled to mention that until the 1960s Montreal was the largest city in Canada. In recent years Toronto has come to be the largest city and to consider itself the centre of Canada (if not of the universe).
It is now almost 14 years since I first contacted the newly appointed Archbishop Collins (transplanted from Edmonton to Toronto) to inquire about the possibility of ordination and ministry in the Archdiocese of Toronto. Little did I know, at that time, of the prayerful call to unity which was, even then, in its final planning stages in Rome. This planning would result in the ground-breaking invitation to Anglicans and others to cross the Tiber and, for me and other clergy, to serve as Catholic priests while retaining and building upon the Anglican patrimony within the embrace of the Holy See.
This was a truly ecumenical break-through which continues to shape the future of dialogue with other Christian bodies. In the next 10 years we must pray and work for the extension of our mission and the new evangelization not only through beautiful language and music but, as George Weigel has put it so well in his latest book, commitment to truth and goodness as well – clear teaching with pastoral concern and outreach.
On this special occasion I have been asked to offer a patrimonial toast of loyalty this evening in recognition of the work of your Eminence and so many others. Thinking about this, it came to me that no better toast could be offered than the one traditionally offered by Dr. Healey Willan, the great Church musician and another transplant to Toronto.
Dr. Willan was famously noted for his self-description as: English by birth, Canadian by adoption, Irish by extraction, and Scotch by absorption.
I invite you, then, to raise your glasses and to join with me in a toast to Our Lady, Queen of Heaven and our Lady, Queen of Canada.