21 April 2015


Sub Tuum.

Years ago, when I entered the Catholic Church, it was on 21 April, the Feast of Saint Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury. It was the closest Sunday to the feast of my patron whose name I took, St. George. I have long considered that I entered the Church on Anselm's feast day to be very special. Like me, he was a Franco-Italian, born in Aosta, which is an Italian region now in northwest Italy, but at the time was in the Kingdom of Arles. His father was a Lombard from a noble lineage, and his mother was a Burgundian related to Otto I, Count of Savoy. So, in part as a descendant of the House of Arles, St. Anselm and I share common ancestors. He also would later lead an English church as I was elected to lead a church of the English rite (which itself has strong cultural and historic ties to Italy).

In 1059, Anselm went to Normandy. He visited England from time to time. He was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury (and hence the head of the Catholic Church of England) and consecrated bishop in 1093. He wrote extensively on spiritual and theological matters and was canonized in 1494 by Pope Alexander VI. He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1909 by Pope Pius X.

For me, as a Franco-Italian bishop leading a Old Roman Catholic church of the Anglican rite, being received all those years ago into the Catholic Church on St. Anselm's day is indeed particularly special.