Fr Christopher Jamison joins the BBC Radio 2 Chris Evans Breakfast Show to give his ‘Pause for Thought’ – Wednesday, 10 August 2016.
His reflection focuses on his time in Krakow, Poland, for at World Youth Day 2016
Last time I was with you I was on my way to Poland for World Youth Day, the world’s largest youth festival. So it was that 10 days ago I found myself standing in a field near Krakow with one and a half million others, including 4,000 Brits. This was the climax of the week long celebrations when we came together with the Pope for a vigil of prayer. On that unforgettable Saturday night, this multitude from every nation was singing in harmony and listening to Pope Francis. This unity was in sharp contrast to the events in a French church earlier that week when an elderly priest had been killed by two attackers as he said Mass. During his speech, the Pope insisted that Christians will not meet hate with more hate, violence with more violence, terror with more terror. Instead he invited us to stand up, to take the hands of those standing next to us and to pray in silence. In that moment of silence we were a multinational chain of peace. You are a bridge, the Pope told us, and would that the powers of the world knew how to build such bridges. If people hold hands they’re unable to do violence to each other, so hands held in friendship is the perfect response to terror. Our international bridge of hands illustrated what Jesus said about peace. Peace I give you, said Jesus, but not as the world gives it. The power of millions of hands held in prayer is the peace that violence cannot give. Now I’m back in England, I’ve had to let go of those hands but I need to keep stretching out my hand in friendship. Trying that on a rush hour train might cause alarm rather than harmony. Somehow, though, I need to find new ways of channeling the peace I found in a field in Poland.