But from both the Catholic and Anglican sides, "I think both the Pope's ability to recognize and accept and celebrate that (dialogue) with us, and our willingness to receive him and celebrate that (dialogue), are the two factors that have led us to where we are today."
Pointing to Benedict XVI's establishment of the Anglican Ordinariate in 2009 as a means of helping Anglicans who wish to become Catholic while maintaining certain elements of their liturgy and customs, Boardman called the move "a real generosity and attempt to meet some of the deficiencies, as they were conceived, of what kept us apart."
While some on the Anglican side initially viewed the act as "hostile and invasive," the pastor said for him that wasn't the case, and that in his own personal view, the time has come "to settle down" and appreciate the gesture as "an act of generosity".
"The degree to which Anglican patrimony truly has been inserted into the Roman Catholic world is something that's ongoing," he said, and noted that after the Pope's visit to his parish this weekend, a Choral Evensong of the Anglican rite will be sung inside St. Peter's Basilica March 13.
When it comes to progress Catholics and Anglicans have made toward unity, Boardman said he thinks the communities have grown closer, and that in his view "we're closer to unity than we ever were before simply because time has passed and we're nearer to God's gathering us all in."
"In that sense we're nearer," he said, but added that if they want to continue growing closer to one another, it can't happen without taking on a more prayerful attitude.
There has to be greater openness "to God's surprising demands on us, and our alignment with his will where all of us, all Christians" make the sacrifices and take the steps needed in order "to truly align ourselves with God's will."
Dialogue "has flourished" in the past 100 years, particularly after the Second Vatican Council, he said, acknowledging that unity is closer, but there is still a long way to go.
"We're only just beginning truly to be real friends and being able to talk about our differences and our problems as friends," he said, adding that "we've got a ways to go to resolve them."
Some of the biggest hurdles that still need to be overcome exist on both a spiritual and practical level, he said, noting that the first challenge is always "to be faithful to God and to grow in spiritual depth."
Apart from this, major issues from the Catholic standpoint include the ordination of women and homosexual individuals, whereas for Anglicans, how to accept papal primacy without "changing the nature" of Anglicanism is still a looming concern.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
But putting the hurdles aside, Boardman said he hopes the twinning of his parish with the Catholic parish of Ognissanti will help to foster "greater friendship between our two communities."
The gesture will offer both communities a way to experience the spiritual life of the other while staying "true to our … disciplines" and growing together through various activities, such as service to the poor.
"We've already started in sharing some of the feeding programs to the homeless in Rome," he said, explaining that Ognissanti has already launched various projects, "but now we are participating in them."