Anniversary Weekend : March 2003

Portrait of the Abbé Paul Irénée Couturier, 1881-1953, by Brigitte Comby de Molliens,
specially commissioned by Unité Chrétienne for the Fiftieth Anniversary

Saturday 22 March

Spiritual Ecumenism
A Day Conference, 10-30 am to 4 pm at Westminster Cathedral Hall to celebrate the influence of Christians' "spiritual emulation" of each other, the influence of prayer for unity on the life of the churches, and the real advances in ecumenism through living in the "Invisible Monastery".

For further details click here

Weekend of Celebrations in Lyon 22 - 23 March

Saturday 22 March

  • 2-30 pm to 5-30 pm : An afternoon on Paul Couturier's life and ideas, with witness accounts of those who knew him, at the Université catholique de Lyon, Salle Jean-Paul II, 25 rue du Plat, Lyon 2
  • 2 pm to 5-30 pm : Celebration for Young People of all denominations at the Temple du Change, Place du Change Lyon 5
  • 6 pm to 7 pm: Ecumenical Liturgy for the faithful of all Christian Churches, in the Cathedral of St John

Sunday 23 March

  • Each Christian confession invited those of other Churches to special Services or Eucharists. The Catholics gathered at the Church of St Francis de Sales, rue Auguste Comte, Lyon 2e, a building where the Abbé loved to say Mass, and where he organized the first meetings of the Week of Prayer for the Unity of Christians
  • 11-45 am : Unveiling of a Commemorative Plaque in honour of the Abbé Paul Couturier, in the presence of Monseigneur Philippe Barbarin, and the Senator-Mayor of Lyon Gérard Collomb as well as the mayors of the 2nd and 5th arrondissements, to mark the renaming of the St Georges Footbridge as the Passerelle Abbé Paul Couturier, quai Tilsitt-Lyon, Lyon 2
  • 2-30 pm : A tour 'In the Footsteps of the Abbé Couturier', visiting places associated with Paul Couturier in his life and activity : the Institution des Chartreux, where he taught for several decades; the Church of Saint Nizier, where he made his first Holy Communion; the cemetery of Loyasse where he has lain at rest for half a century

Pastor Conrad Reiser, President of the World Council of Churches, and Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, were invited to preside jointly at this weekend of celebrations.

For further information contact the Centre Unité Chrétienne, 2 rue Jean Carriès, 69005 Lyon, FRANCE. Telephone +33 04 78 42 11 67. Fax +33 04 72 7768 99.

Day of Commemoration at Westminster Monday 24 March

The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Death of Paul Couturier
The Abbé was specially commemorated at Sung Mass at 5-30 pm at Westminster Cathedral on the Vigil of the Solemnity of the Annunciation of our Lord. Bishop Alan Hopes, Vicar General of the archdiocese, presided and read a letter of greeting and commendation of the Abbé's prayer and work. The Archbishop of Canterbury was represented by Canon Jonathan Gough. Others present included Dr Martin Conway, president of the Society for Ecumenical Studies, Mr David Carter, of the International Methodist-Orthodox Commission, The Revd Philip Gray, director of the Catholic League, Prebendary Brooke Lunn editor of The Messenger, Sister Mary Michael CHC of Rempstone, Dr Timothy Watson and Deacon Dominique Ferry of the Communauté du Chemin Neuf, Fr Michael Seed SA, ecumenical officer for the Archbishop of Westminster. This was also the eve of the Centenary of the opening of Westminster Cathedral in 1903.

Click here to read the Order of Mass, with the Greeting from the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, and the Homily from Bishop Alan Hopes.

There followed a Reception and an address on The Life and Vision of Paul Couturier by Dr Timothy Watson of the University of Newcastle and a member of the Chemin Neuf Community. Click here for details of the commemorative book about Paul Couturier and the events in 2003.