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This article was published in the January 1996 issue of The Journal.

Hidden Strength

Share our joy!

Some years ago we printed in the AIF Newsletter the wedding invitation vvhich Sarah and Jim sent out to their friends. They were married in Sarah's Anglican church with the participation of Jim's parish priest. They  wanted to set their wedding in a eucharistic context within the bounds of what was then possible. Their wedding invitation read:

We hope you can come to share in our joy. We would love you to join us, possible, in sharing a eucharist at St Bridget's at 9.00 a.m. and at All Saints' at 9.45 a.m. In this way we will both be able to receive Communion along with members of our families and friends who wish to do so. This is very important for us and we hope this small, joyful gesture of pilgrimage to one another's church win bring them closer together.

Very grateful

Recently we have received an update on the family'S journey offaith, and we rejoice that/or them it has been possible to live "the hopes" as well as "the difflculties of the path to Christian unity". Sarah and Jim now write as follows.

We are prompted to share our experiences of preparation and celebration of the eucharist in a two-church situation, both by recent articles in Interchurch Families and by a theme of the 1995 AIF annual conference (Growing in Christ - joint preparation for the sacraments). For most of our married life we have been privileged to live without the recurrent pain of eucharistic division. We are each welcomed, and each accepts, an invitation to share in the Lord's Supper at the Anglican and Catholic churches we attend on (roughly!) alternate Sundays.

The path of our two older daughters, Catherine and Anna, to joint preparation for communion was much smoothed by the decision of the Anglican diocese to allow children from about the age of eight to receive the eucharist. They may, however, feel that their route was made more complicated, since this meant that they attended parish-based preparation courses in both churches.

The courses were to a certain extent complementary. The Catholic one consisted of monthly meetings over several months, with parallel parents' groups; the Anglican preparation was concentrated during Lent. Interestingly, at the time Catherine was involved, the Anglican parish was using a Catholic programme for initiation to the eucharist.

So, on two separate occasions, two years apart, we have been involved as a family, including the extended family, in a First Communion at the Easter Vigil in the Anglican parish, followed a few weeks later by First Communion in our Catholic church. Clergy from both churches have always been aware of and highly supportive of our family in sharing communion, and for this we are very grateful.

For us, the eucharist is what binds and strengthens us as a couple and a family and gives us any hidden we may have in order to bear Christ's love into our beautiful but broken world.