Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, has written to Pope Francis as he prepares to celebrate the fourth anniversary of his election as Bishop of Rome – the 265th successor of St Peter.
The Cardinal offers prayers and thanks for the Holy Father for the steadfast way in which he has upheld the teachings of Christ and the Church “presenting them in deed and in word with a freshness and directness, which draws the attention of the world.”
Most Holy Father
I write on behalf of the Catholic Community in England and Wales, and I am sure of many more, to offer you our prayers and congratulations as you reach the fourth anniversary in this time of your service to the Apostolic See.
We thank God that the Holy Spirit guided the Church in the process of your election and that the same Holy Spirit guides and supports you day by day. We thank God for the richness of the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, which are the hallmarks of your ministry: joy and peace, patience and kindness, faithfulness, wisdom and mercy.
Holy Father, we thank you for the steadfast way in which you uphold the teachings of Christ and the Church, presenting them in deed and in word with a freshness and directness, which draws the attention of the world.
We pray that God will give you strength and courage to continue this great ministry from which we all draw such encouragement.
I assure you, Holy Father, of the love, the esteem and the whole-hearted support of us all.
Please, Holy Father, give us your blessing as we give you our love.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols
President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales