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.
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.
SOUTH ISLAND MEDAL RECIPIENTS
Here’s the list of 28 South Island medal recipients selected by community leaders from each constituency.
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
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
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
Murray Langdon, journalist
Daniel Lapp, founder, B.C. Fiddle Orchestra
Elinor Rhynas, Quadra Village newsletter and festival
Gurdeep Sundher, community volunteer