3,000 images blessed by the Pope distributed across England and Wales

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As a legacy of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the UK, 3,000 copies of the Pre-Raphaelite painter William Holman Hunt’s, ‘Light of the World’ will be distributed, with 145 being sent to prison chaplains. The prints and candles were blessed by the Holy Father during the Prayer Vigil at Hyde Park on the evening of Saturday, 18 September.

Fr Andrew Headon, who chaired the Hyde Park Vigil Steering Committee, said: “Holman Hunt’s painting has been described as ‘a sermon in a frame’ and reminds everyone that Jesus knocks at the door of our hearts. The painting invites us to reflect that Jesus’ heart cries out for our hearts to be one with his. He is standing at the door and knocking, offering love and peace.”

It is suggested that the framed images are used in prayer groups, schools, prisons, hospitals, hospices, schools and are made available through Catholic parishes to all those who desire to speak to God ‘heart to heart’, to encourage prayer and witness. The image has been reproduced through the permission of Chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral, London.

The Home Mission Desk of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has made a guidance sheet available to support prayerful use of the blessed image and candle.

Fr Headon added: “At the Prayer Vigil we prayed Blessed Newman’s prayer that by God’s grace we would radiate the presence of Christ. These images also remind everyone that we are invited into a personal relationship with God, in turn carrying and sharing the joy and the love of Christ as home missionaries.”

The guidance sheet can be downloaded from the official Papal Visit website.