By Xavier Satre – Port Louis
Archbishop Ian Ernest is overjoyed to be able to be amongst those welcoming Pope Francis in his Apostolic Visit to Mauritius.
The Anglican Bishop of Mauritius is soon to become the Archbishop of Canterbury’s next Personal Representative to the Holy See and Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome.
But while preparing for his new responsibility, he has been working closely with his Catholic counterpart, the Bishop of Port Louis, Cardinal Maurice Piat, and he is amongst those welcoming the Pope to their beautiful island.
He told Vatican Radio’s Xavier Sartre that the Pope’s visit is a blessing and that Pope Francis is universally seen in Mauritius as a model.
In a nation that is multi-cultural and multi-religious, he says, the Pope’s message transcends everyone and he comes as a pilgrim of peace.
Regarding Anglican relations with the Catholic Church in Mauritius, Archbishop Ernest says it has been a very good relationship for the past 40 years.
He says the two confessions do many things together, for example they co-lead one of the top schools on the Mauritian island of Rodrigues, the ecumenical Rodrigues College, which was formed in 1973 by the merger of St Louis Roman Catholic School and St Barnabas Anglican School.
Also, he says, Cardinal Piat and he have personally collaborated in addressing many important issues, for example writing joint statements on environmental and social issues. He notes they have also delivered joint Christmas messages for Mauritian television, as well of course, always promoted their message of closeness and collaboration.
Regarding what he would really like to ask Pope Francis, Archbishop Ernest says he would like to see “how best we can really welcome young people who are the potential for transformation.”
“We would like to see young Christians in the forefront so as to be able to give new breath and new inspiration to the Church,” Archishop Ernest concludes.