In Quebec, ecumenism a matter of survival.

Author:Forget, Andre
 
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According to a story often repeated in the diocese of Quebec, when the first Anglican bishop, Jacob Mountain, arrived in Quebec City in 1793, he was greeted on the dock by his Roman Catholic counterpart, Bishop Jean-Francois Hubert.

"Your people are waiting for you," said Hubert, welcoming Mountain to his new home.

While relations between French Catholics and English Protestants in Quebec have not always been so cordial, the leadership of the two churches have long understood the practical need to work together in a province where religion historically has played an outsized role in public life.

When the newly refurbished Notre-Dame de Quebec Basilica burned to the ground Dec. 22, 1922, the Anglican bishop invited the congregation to worship at the nearby Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. Decades later, Catholic Archbishop Maurice Roy provided the Anglican bishop's residence with firewood from a woodlot owned by the Catholic church.

But for Mountains and Hubert's most recent spiritual descendants, Roman Catholic Archbishop Gerald Lacroix and Anglican Coadjutor Bishop Bruce Myers, the relationship has moved beyond simply "working together." When Myers arrived in Quebec City to take up his new position in May 2016, Lacroix invited him to live at the archeveche, the official residence of the Catholic archbishop of Quebec.

"[Myers] is welcome here like a brother. We pray together, we eat together, we have fun together--it's life. That brings bonds," says Lacroix. When Myers is not travelling the diocese, he joins them every morning at 7 a.m. for the Eucharist, which he refrains from taking out of respect for Catholic teaching on the matter.

For Lacroix, this is what ecumenism really looks like. "Ecumenism will not happen, and unity will not happen, between churches. It will happen between people of those churches," he says. "It is not a decree that we are going to get from some authority. It's going to be... walking together, praying together and living together."

Myers, who served as the co-ordinator for ecumenical and interfaith relations at the Anglican Church of Canada from 2012-2016, agrees. The welcome and hospitality he has received "speaks louder than any common declaration he or I could make about our goodwill as churches toward each other," he says.

It is an approach to ecumenism that Lacroix had also cultivated with diocesan Bishop Dennis Drainville.

In 2014, Drainville joined Lacroix on a pilgrimage to Rome and France, following the canonization...

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