The Bishop responsible for Mission in England and Wales is inviting Catholic parishes, families, groups and individuals to celebrate and share their experiences of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the UK.
Bishop Kieran Conry (Arundel and Brighton) is Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis and said in a video message recorded in advance of the anniversary, which coincides with Home Mission Sunday on 18 September 2011:
“What’s it done for you? Has it made you feel different about being a Catholic? Has it inspired you to do anything? Tell stories if you can of what you’ve seen round the parish as a result of it.”
He added: “Share your experience. What happened to you as a result of your sharing in the Pope’s visit? Even if you only saw it on television, or if you did get to Cofton Park, or if you did get to Hyde Park, have you shared those experiences? I’m sure you’ve shared the photographs, but since then, how have you felt? Do you feel different now one year on? I would hope the answer is, ‘Yes, I feel different and I feel better.’ People’s lives have been changed.”
The anniversary of the Papal Visit will be celebrated 16 – 18 September, beginning with the re-establishment of the practice of Friday Penance on the 16. Parishes, families and groups are being encouraged to gather on Saturday 17 for parties and to share their photographs and reminiscences, pausing perhaps too to offer a prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions. 18 September is Home Mission Sunday when parishes are invited to have a collection to support the work of evangelisation in England and Wales. On 18 September there will also be a national Mass of Thanksgiving for the Holy Father’s visit.
The theme of this year’s Home Mission Sunday is ‘Fresh Wind In Our Sails’ because this is what the Holy Father is reported to have said that his visit to the UK gave him.
Bishop Conry added: “What we want to do on Home Mission Sunday this year is to say to people, ‘Fill your sails again with fresh wind. Pick up that enthusiasm and excitement again and let it blow through, blow away some of the dust that has sort of settled into corners and blow away some of the tiredness and indifference and apathy that’s crept into our own lives. Fill our sails again with that confidence and joy of being a Catholic.’ And so the focus on Home Mission Sunday is not to lose that impetus.”
It is hoped that the summer will allow time for people to prepare. Testimonies of grace and inspiration are being collated by the Home Mission Desk of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Please email your stories – which are to be no longer than one side of A4 paper – to email@example.com For parish resources and more information about the anniversary weekend please see:catholicchurch.org.uk/Home-Mission. All the materials for Home Mission Sunday are being provided electronically.
On Saturday 17th September, the National Office for Vocation has organised, Papal Revisit – Made For Love, 3pm-8pm, Maria Fidelis School and St Aloysius Church, London. This is an evening for young adults on the first anniversary of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the UK and it provides an opportunity to reflect on his message.
Please register by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also see: http://www.ukvocation.org/made-for-love