A television presenter, an MP, a religious sister and an IT Sales Consultant are just some of the people who have offered moving and powerful stories of faith in advance of the Papal Visit.
Pope Benedict’s XVI visit to the UK (16 – 19 September) is themed Heart Speaks unto Heart which was the motto of the soon-to-be beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman. In advance of this historic moment members of the Catholic Community have been invited to share how God has spoken to them in their lives.
Television presenter and author, Carol Vorderman, shares in a recorded video message about how God helped her to cope with the loss of a dear friend and colleague, Richard Whiteley: ‘I had never grieved over anyone as I had with Richard… I didn’t know what to do and I was broken, and then I believe that God spoke to me and he took my heart and put it back together again and gave me the strength to go on…
There have been other occasions in my life… and not even my mother has been able to comfort me but God has. That’s why I do believe that heart speaks unto heart, and that’s why this visit with that theme is so important to me.’
Meanwhile Conservative MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, Iain Duncan Smith, spoke on camera about how Catholic Social Teaching has inspired his life: ‘If there’s one specific area of Jesus’ teaching, then I think it is the Parable of the Good Samaritan really which informs pretty much what I try to do. I’m sure it informs the work of other politicians too. The principal behind that is that you don’t walk away, you take on the challenges for an individual who has found themselves in difficult circumstances and you try and put them back on their feet again…. The theme of “Heart speaks to heart”, I guess, is really the essence that lies behind the concept of the Church and of Catholic teaching…so much of it has to be about your passion to help your fellow man.’
Former Coronation Street actress, Liz Dawn (who played Vera Duckworth) also reflects on what her faith means to her: ‘My faith means everything to me. The feeling it gives me is everything. The feeling of prayer is a comfort like no other. I have had many tributes given to me in my life. I met Pope John Paul II years ago and it was the highlight of my life. I received an MBE for charity work and it was an honour to be able to raise money for worthy causes…and I am sure it was because I was raised in the faith. To care about others is a gift from God. The Pope’s Visit will be a blessing for all.’
Sr Hyacinthe Defos du Rau OP, is a Dominican Sister of St Joseph and shares her story in written form which focuses on a crisis of faith. Whilst IT consultation, Charlie Connor, writes of his journey of returning to the practice of his faith after drifting away. These and other stories are on the Papal Visit website. The video stories from, Carol Vorderman and Ian Duncan Smith MP
As part of the legacy of the Papal Visit, everyone is invited, Catholic or not, to reflect on what speaking to God heart-to-heart means to them, and when in their own lives this can be recognised. They are welcome to send in short accounts – one side of typed A4, font size 11 – to the Home Mission Desk of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and a selection will be published on the Papal Visit website. Email: email@example.com
Home Mission Desk