Anglican priest completes journey to Catholicism

It’s been a remarkable week for Rev. Peter D. Wilkinson.

Last Saturday, the former Anglican bishop, 72, was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest by Victoria Bishop Richard Gagnon — only the third such priest in Canada to have taken the step, along with about 25 from the U.S.

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On Friday, he received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal during a private ceremony with Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon at Government House.

Wilkinson was nominated for the medal by the Canadian Royal Heritage Trust for his longstanding efforts “to keep Canada’s royal heritage a living one,” said William Mears, the trust’s Vancouver Island chairman. He was the only Victoria resident nominated by the trust out of 250 across Canada, all of whom received it.

On Monday, seven South Island MLAs are hosting a celebration for 28 medal recipients selected by community leaders from each constituency. The names of all 60,000 Diamond Jubilee Medal recipients will not be made public until the program closes in February 2013.

Wilkinson became Roman Catholic last April and currently leads a sung Catholic mass using liturgy based upon the traditional Anglican liturgy Sundays at St. Columba’s Church in View Royal.

“He is one of the most humble and least self-promoting people I’ve ever seen in my life,” as well as a theologian of great authority, Mears said.

Wilkinson was born and raised in Victoria as a member of the Anglican Church of Canada.

Within a year of his father’s death of leukemia when Peter was 18, “he discovered Anglo-Catholicism, or rather God discovered him, and converted him to His love and a desire for holiness of life,” states his ordination booklet from St. Andrew’s Cathedral.

He received his call to the priesthood and to celibacy, and he attended the leading Anglo-Catholic seminary in West Yorkshire from 1962 to 1964. He was ordained as a priest in 1965, but when he returned to Canada, his opposition to the impending ordination of women by the Anglican Church of Canada led him to a career as a records manager in the provincial government, although he served as a hospital chaplain and part-time assistant at Christ Church Cathedral.

Wilkinson began the first parish of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada in the late 1970s and served as its parish priest for 14 years.


Here’s the list of 28 South Island medal recipients selected by community leaders from each constituency.


Esquimalt–Royal Roads

Russell Cameron, chief, Colwood Fire Department

Paul Hurst, chief, View Royal Fire Department

Grant Keddie, curator of archeology, Royal B.C. Museum

Lynda Okeefe, community volunteer

Juan de Fuca

Bob Beckett, chief, Langford Fire Department

Jean Boivin, veteran, community volunteer

Phoebe Dunbar, advocate, local food security

Flo Tickner, community volunteer

Oak Bay–Gordon Head

Dale Gann, founding president, VIATech

Sardul Gill, philanthropist

Scott Hall, Defence Construction Canada volunteer (Afghanistan and Canadian Arctic)

Tessa van Straaten, journalist

Saanich North & the Islands

Andy Anderson, community volunteer

Marie Cooper, Tsartlip elder and aboriginal educator

Pat Keough, author and photographer

Rosemarie Keough, author and photographer

Saanich South

Haji Charania, B.C. Buildings Corp.

Rebecca Jehn, agricultural entrepreneur

Katy Madsen, founder, Sierra Club of B.C. and conservation advocate

Paul Allan Spencelayh, community volunteer

Victoria–Beacon Hill

Rev. Dr. Wee Chong Tan, founder, traditional Chinese medicine college

Sheila McAleese, Mustard Seed and Mount St. Mary’s Hospital

Linda Nonen, primary school teacher

Margaret O’Donnell, founder, Oasis Society

Victoria–Swan Lake

Murray Langdon, journalist

Daniel Lapp, founder, B.C. Fiddle Orchestra

Elinor Rhynas, Quadra Village newsletter and festival

Gurdeep Sundher, community volunteer

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