Katharine Deane, a youth worker from the Ross Union of Parishes in the United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, followed the example of St. Willibrord (the first Bishop of Utrecht) in late May of this year by taking part in a gathering of Old Catholics and Anglicans in Echternach, Luxembourg. St. Willibrord was a missionary from Northhumbria who lived in the 7th and 8th Centuries, and who became known as ‘the apostle to the Frisians’.
Echternach is St. Willibrord’s final resting place. It was an excellent destination for Old Catholics and Anglicans to meet and build new and long lasting ties. While there the participants were immersed in each other’s cultures and beliefs. It was an opportunity to build new friendships with other Anglicans and Old Catholics from all over Europe.
The group stayed at a youth hostel on the edge of Echternach, beside the lake, within walking distance of the town. Each day, there was the opportunity to engage in discussion about beliefs and traditions in the two churches. Each morning there was a thematic conversation or workshop, followed by activities in the afternoon. Later each day the group made the 20 minute walk to the cathedral in Echternach where there was an evening Service. This was held in the catacombs of the cathedral near to the final resting place of St. Willibrord.
Working together to discover and write a shared common vision, the group created a declaration known as ‘The Willibrord Declaration 2017’ which sets out aims to bring about unity between Anglicans and Old Catholics.