Archbishop invites pilgrims to share treasured UK Papal Visit memories and to be confidently Catholic

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In a video message released ahead of the anniversary of the Papal Visit and Home Mission Sunday (18 September) Archbishop Vincent Nichols has invited Catholics to participate in a special weekend of celebration.

He said: “I hope that you will find time as a family or as a group of friends or as a group of youngsters, to get together, to remember the stories of that weekend. Find your photographs, have another look at the DVD. Maybe you made home recordings of episodes of the Papal Visit? Maybe some of you went and travelled to these events? On this anniversary Saturday could I please ask you to delve into that memory bank and bring out those treasured memories again and enjoy them. Sit down together and have a Pope Benedict party on Saturday 17 September.”

The anniversary weekend is made up of three parts: Friday 16 September is the re-establishment of the practice of Friday penance, on the Saturday families and parishes are encouraged to gather for a special celebration and Sunday is Home Mission Sunday which is an annual day of prayer and affirmation of the mission of the Church. The Archbishop said:

“I think this Home Mission Sunday on the anniversary of the Papal Visit is a huge opportunity for us to remember again the graces and the energy that surrounded the visit of Pope Benedict and to take fresh encouragement from that…. We need confidence, we need a renewed wind of the Holy Spirit in our backs so that we don’t look down, we don’t look backwards, we face the future, we face forward confident in the message that the Lord gives us, that the Holy Father affirmed within us. Now that message is essentially about our search for holiness through service of Christ, and the service of Christ and the search for holiness finds an important expression in the role that we play in our everyday lives outside of Church, in our homes, in our places of work, where with confidence we put forward the vision of faith in practice. We might not say very much a lot of the time, but we put it forward in action and when we’re asked, we’re ready to speak about our faith sensitively and carefully. So ‘Fresh Wind in Our Sails’ for home mission, that’s our theme.”

On the afternoon of 18 September the Bishops will gather in Westminster Cathedral for a Mass of thanksgiving. The Archbishop invited Catholics to read again what Pope Benedict said during his visit as a guide for their next steps:

“I hope that over this weekend you will dwell on some of the key themes that he called us to be – witnesses in the good work of education, calling us to a sanctity of life, to holiness from a young age, encouraging young people to play their part in the life of the Church, reminding us of the great dignity of being a priestly people called to consecrate the world to God, and of course, all the attention that he brought to the elderly, to the vulnerable, to those who have suffered abuse in our midst and, of course, to Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman.”

“So study, prayer, joyful remembrance of the events of the visit, for all of these things you’ll find help and support, so let’s do that and make this Home Mission Sunday, this anniversary of the Holy Father’s visit really very special.”

The Archbishop’s comments echoed those made by Bishop Kieran Conry, the bishop who has national responsibility for mission.

The Archbishop’s video message is also available on our Vimeo channel.

For more information about Home Mission Sunday and the anniversary celebrations please see:

If you’d like to know more about the work of home mission in England and Wales see:

Parishes are invited to have a second collection to support the work of mission on 18 September.