(Photo Archbishop Vincent Nichols celebrating Mass in Westminster)
Archbishop Vincent Nichols called for all Catholics to take up the Pope’s call to strive for holiness in their lives at the service of others in his homily at the Mass of Thanksgiving on the anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the United Kingdom.
The anniversary of the Pope’s historic State visit to the UK has been marked by the Bishops’ re-introduction of Friday abstinence, a series of local celebrations and on Sunday 18 September a statement by the Bishops of England and Wales on the mission of the Church. The statement reflects the renewed confidence of Catholics in this country following the Papal Visit and a call for all to give witness to the “beauty of holiness, the splendour of truth and the joy and freedom born of a relationship with Jesus Christ”.
Archbishop Nichols said in his Homily that in giving thanks to the Pope for his ministry and charism:
“We willingly express our love and devotion to him, the visible touchstone of our faith and truly our Holy Father in the Church. We promise him the support of our prayers and we commit ourselves to work each day, in our families, our friendships, our schools and our parishes to reap a hundredfold from the seeds he has sown in our hearts. May this truly be a moment of fresh wind in our sails, a moment of hope and confidence in the gifts that our catholic faith offers to our world.”
Messages from Pope Benedict XVI and the Archbishop of Canterbury were delivered at the Thanksgiving Mass.
All guests at the Mass of Thanksgiving on the Anniversary of the historic Visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom personally helped, or represent those who contributed in some way, to the success of that Visit.
Representatives from around the dioceses of England and Wales were joined by Simon Martin, the Director of Protocol and Vice Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office who was officially representing Her Majesty’s Government. Last year, Mr Martin exercised overall operational responsibility for the Visit of His Holiness to the United Kingdom.
Other guests from Government offices who also were instrumental in organising the Visit, included: Dame Helen Ghosh, Susan Scholefield, George Edgar, Alison MacMillan and Tony Humphries; His Excellency Nigel Marcus Baker, who has recently taken up post as the British Ambassador to the Holy See.
Councillor Anita Ward, the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, represented Birmingham City Council, the city in which Pope Benedict XVI beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman. Detective Chief Superintendent Philip Jordan, represented the Association of Chief Police Officers Visit Team and Detective Chief Inspector Chris Lundrigan, represented the Metropolitan Police Service Command Team.
Monsignor Paul Conroy, who was the Coordinator of the Papal Visit for the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland to Scotland and who is representing the Bishops of Scotland and, Monsignor Andrew Summersgill, who was the Coordinator of the Papal Visit for the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.
His Excellency, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, was the personal representative of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.
The Most Reverend Archbishop Elisey of Sourozh from the Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain and the Right Reverend Dr Alan Smith, the Bishop of St Albans. Bishop Smith is personally representing the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.
From Sunday evening, 18 September, you will find a series of videos from the Mass of Thanksgiving and other events to mark the one-year anniversary of Pope Benedict’s visit to the UK.
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