Friday, 6 August 2010

Seminarians excited for Papal Visit

With just about 6 weeks to go until Pope Benedict touches down on British soil, Southwark Papal Visit Blog has been speaking to some of our diocesan seminarians about their hopes and expectations for the visit. There is now an ‘atmosphere of anticipation’, we’re told, as word spreads across the community that the Holy Father is coming: after a slow start, it seems that the arrival in parishes of the ticket allocations has sparked a great deal of enthusiasm. In at least one Southwark parish last weekend we witnessed the Coffee Morning dominated by a little shrine to the Pope around which parishioners were gathered, clamouring for information and the opportunity to travel either to Hyde Park or Cofton Park.

Louie, who is 24 and preparing to enter the Royal Alban College, our seminary in Valladolid, Spain, sees the visit primarily as an ‘opportunity for evangelisation on many levels’ – growing the faith of lapsed or lukewarm Catholics as well as reaching out to those of other faiths and none. Louie will be attending the Beatification Mass in Cofton Park along with around 80 000 other pilgrims and also hopes to be among the lucky group of seminarians with whom the Holy Father will meet after the Beatification, at Oscott College, seminary of the Birmingham province.

Tom, 25, who is a seminarian at Wonersh, our diocese’s main seminary, says that Pope Benedict is above all a ‘very honest and intelligent speaker’, who will have a very powerful message for the priests and people of Britain. Tom’s also curious to see what the reaction is from the populace at large – ‘both positive and negative’, he says. We’ll see, Tom!

Louie also hopes that the visit will showcase the ‘young, vibrant and growing Church’ that is Catholicism in Britain, and says that it is ‘the perfect opportunity to get to know the personality and vision of Pope Benedict which has often been misunderstood or misinterpresented’ since his accession to the papacy in 2005.

Thanks to Tom Lynch and Louie Kitt. Please keep them and all our seminarians in your prayers.

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