Monday 20 September 2010

The Pope has gone.....

......and now it is our responsibility to reap the fruits of his Visit. And what a visit!

400 000 people saw our Holy Father at some stage.

He met with the Queen, the Prime Minister & the Deputy Prime Minister, spoke to Parliament, stood on the spot St Thomas More was tried, presided jointly with Rowan Williams over an ecumenical evening prayer and of course, beatified Cardinal Newman.

I have travelled with the Pope since early Saturday morning, which is why Dani has been doing all the posting! The Mass at Westminster Cathedral was stunningly beautiful and reverent, a reverence that flows from the Holy Father's own profound holiness during the celebration of Mass. After that we walked through eerily quiet streets to Hyde Park for the prayer vigil. There was a great atmosphere, more akin to a festival than a religious service, and the arena was full, which made for fantastic images.

The Pope's reflections on Cardinal Newman during the Vigil were deeply impressive, just as everything he has said has been: you must get copies of all his talks and read them carefully! He also invited all the young people present to World Youth Day, which was excellent. That's the next project!

I then slept on a sofa at Holy Ghost Balham before joining the parish's pilgrims for Cofton Park. We left at 1.30am. It was definitely worth it, though: the Beatification Mass was absolutely amazing and once again the atmosphere was both exuberantly joyful and deeply prayerful.

This is a weekend that will stay with us all for a long time.

Sunday 19 September 2010

A sensational day- interview with Carmela Tucker

Whilst waiting in a queue to get into Hyde Park, I caught up with an old friend, Carmela Tucker to find out how she was finding the day. Carmela is a 20 year old from a small parish in Whitstable Kent in the Archdiocese of Southwark who has just finished her gap year working for Southwark Catholic Youth Service in the residential centre and is currently preparing to start university. I asked her six quick questions to get her thoughts on this historical state visit.

So what are you enjoying most about the day?

I've really enjoyed the opportunity to see the Pope, being part of the crowd and experiencing the frenzy that surrounds the leader of my Church. I also value his wisdom and inspired words that produce thoughtful doctrines.

Why did you want to be here today?

I wanted to see the Pope! I also wanted to see friends again from WYD and be part of something massive and historical. WYD- World Youth Day is a massive gathering of young Catholics and it's a chance to celebrate our faith together. I was at the last one in 2008 in Sydney. It was just amazing.

Justin Turner, Greenwich Deanery leader, spoke of the encouragement the visit gives young people to get involved in the life of the Church. "I belive that the most valuable thing young people can take away from a huge Papal Event like this is a renewal of their faith. Saturday's events were not only uplifting but also very inspirational. The Holy Father spoke directly to us as young people and gave us a new courage that as the future of the church we are of high importance and he has given us the hope that with our faith we can be all we want to be. We saw the Pope in a different light in that he seemed very at ease communicating with the youth and was very happy in our presence. Again this has given us more encouragement that the Church needs us and that we have a mission to get further involved."

What are your reactions towards protestors, do they bother you?

Well they have their opinion and that's cool. I saw a poster saying 'Condoms save woman's lives' which is a bit frustrating as I don't think that's the right message. One condom can save one lady/man's life I agree- but it also prevents life. 1 condom, 1 person but millions of babies are prevented from living.

Pope Benedict XVI or John Paul II?

I prefer JP II but I like the Pope in general as an inspirational figure. This state visit is a part of history and I was a part of that!

Do you think the young people here understand or appreciate the magnitude of this event?

Yeah, I think so. I reckon most people here REALLY get it, just look at the amount of people here- there's loads of them! It's a testimony to the fact that everyone wants to be part of history. Faith is a big element of people's lives here- they wouldn't be here if it wasn't. I suppose there are also some young people here who are very curious about experiencing faith on this kind of scale, perhaps that is their reason for being here today. Nonetheless, it's a massive witness to our faith- showing and telling people that this is our Church and we are proud.

When speaking to one young person, it was clear that liturgy itself was incredibly important to her and when I asked her what was her favourite thing of the day, she said 'the mass'. I must admit, I was scared that the crowd may become apprehensive about the Latin mass, but it was simply gorgeous. Everyone was incredibly reverent and was able to follow it well, the booklets produced were very informative and the Magnificat booklet allowed people to join in with the hymns. The youth of 2010 were truly engaged and involved in a traditional mass, something I wasn't expecting to see.

If you could describe the day in one word, what would you choose?


So there you have it. Yesterday was a sensational day which allowed young people to celebrate their faith comfortably with their peers. People were not ashamed to be there, not ashamed of their faith and in actual fact spectacularly mature and respectful while being excited and full of life, what a balance to achieve! The Church is definitely a place for everyone and the youth really do want to be here. Let us now do what we can to continue to encourage and support each other in our faith journey, carrying forward the message of His Holiness to achieve stillness in our busy lives to find God and ultimately peace.

Young people want more

After mass this evening, the young pilgrims from Greenwich deanery were coming out of their youth group meeting. Clearly there is a strong desire to know and love God, and after a spiritually enriching Saturday, the community that had already been formed amongst the young people want to continue to develop and nourish their relationship with God. The Papal Visit may be over, but the faith that we share will continue to be alive and the Holy Father's visit rejuvenated and highlighted the energy and passion that is present in our Church- particularly among the young people.

Here is a link to a video clip I've uploaded to Youtube that a young person made yesterday

I hope that where ever you saw the Holy Father this weekend (in Birmingham or your front room), it was a special and blessed occasion.

Paving the way for legacy

On the way home last night, many of the young people were talking about how exciting the day had been and when I asked them if they were interested in going to Madrid for World Youth Day many of them started asking when it was and how much it would cost. Our parish have discussed sending three young people to Madrid, but by their reactions yesterday, we may have to consider some serious fundrasiing to ensure as many as possibe get to experence the week long pilgrimage.

I cannot begin to tell you how glad I was to hear Pope Benedict address us yesterday evening with the words 'I hope to see many of you at World Youth Day next year.' The crowd literally went mad and it's now that we must try to encorugae young people to seriously consider an opporuntiy to share their faith with young Catholics from all around the world and a chance to listen and reflect upon inspired words from the leader of our Church. Sadly, it can be difficult to ensure all this information gets to everyone (I didn't know World Youth Day exsisted until last year) and so many people who would benefit and enjoy such experiences don't ever come to know about them, so for the Holy Father to spread that message to 80,000 people was just magnificent. Let's hope social media tools will help us round up the numbers for next year.

For those of you in Southwark, has the relevant information and application forms are now available.

Saturday 18 September 2010

Day Three of the Papal Visit

I'm half asleep but I feel the need to jot down a few reactions to what was a humbling experience. For us the Greenwich deanery group, it was an early start to a packed day and on the way home their was a definite feeling of happiness and contentment. The day for us ran like clockwork and I felt honoured to share today's experience with such a lovely group of people.

The weather could not have been any better, the atmosphere was vibrant and Pope Benedict's message could not have been simpler- put Christ at the centre of everything.

As a young female black Catholic, it was also a great joy to see Paschal Uche address the Holy Father on our behalf; I think it's fair to say he was spectacular and did well to represent the Church of modern Britain: fresh, diverse and exuberant. What a role model for our young people of society.

One of the most touching aspects of the day was hearing Mr and Mrs Mizen speak of how grateful they were to the Church for their support during the grieving of their son, Jimmy Mizen. Their message of living a life of peace not anger was rightly received with a standing ovation, an indication of how relevant the issues they discussed are to life in 2010.

Liam McNally was fantastic and the Holy Father still had everyone eager for his presence- people still had the energy to chant Benedictus at 8.15 this evening.

I remember at our training day, Fr Dominic Howarth of Brentwood was concerned about boundaries between taking pictures to upload onto flickr to give those at home coverage, and people taking pictures and not paying attention to the words of the service. This evening, there was a swarm of people to greet Pope as he arrived in his pope mobile at Hyde Park. It was an enchanting sight for me as every type of phone and camera came out to immortalise His Holiness. We are a modern Church and a modern Britain and as things become easier to obtain at a much quicker pace, it was really heartwarming to see people rushing to do something that will last forever as a photograph. There is a desire, a hunger among the young people of the UK to know and love God and today some of the incredibly lucky ones got to take the technology of the 21st century to capture the representative of a Church more than 2000 years old.

I hope that those of you travelling to Cofton Park have a safe and blessed journey home, you are in my prayers.

The journey to Hyde Park begins...

Getting out of bed this morning wasn't too bad and a hot shower certainly seems to have helped. Hopefully I'll have some coffee in the next ten minutes and I'll be as happy as Larry for the rest if the day. Already I've had a text from a friend telling me that she will be on stage later today and she will be meeting with His Holiness. Joy and excitement has shyly surrounded this visit and it's only now that it is coming into its full majesty. Many people have been warmed by Pope Benedict's genuine genorousity and profound words, suggesting that the message of Christ is stretching even to those of no particular faith. Well that's my romantic hope I guess. Continue to keep up to date throughout the day with the events at Hyde Park at

Friday 17 September 2010

Flickr- Westminster Abbey

Here are a few of the snaps I got before and after the service. I must admit, they aren't terribly impressive photographs, but they give you a sense of the anticipation before His Holiness arrived, the presence of the Metropolitan police (who did a fantastic job- VERY efficient) and the joy and the desire for more after Pope Benedict has left Westminster Abbey.

To see them, visit

A Survival Guide to Pilgrimage

Whether you're off to Hyde Park tomorrow or coaching it to Cofton Park on Sunday, here are a few tips that I picked up today after my immense day at Westminster Abbey:

1. If you have a driving licence, bring it as well as your passport- it has your address on it and it's better to be safe than sorry.

2. Tickets are a handy thing to have on you well before you get to security checks, just to save time.

3. Bring something that won't take up too much space but will keep you occupied (you may have long periods of time with nothing specific to do).

4. SHOES!!! I made the mistake of wanting to wear heels all day- I've destroyed my feet. Converses or trainers are definitely the way forward.

5. Another mistake of the day- DON'T bring lots of stuff- bare essentials to get you through the day- phone, ID, ticket, pilgrim pack, water, money.

6. The police are incredibly friendly and very helpful- if you're lost don't be shy. They are there to help.

7. London weather is unpredictable and by the time we leave Hyde Park it will be freezing. So thermals would probably be a good idea.

8. Be prepared to see protests. We live in a country where freedom of speech is important so carry on about your day (God loves everyone even if they don't love Him).

9. Get to queues EARLY. 3 hours before the evening prayer started there was a queue that was snaping round Westminster Hall.

10. Avoid jewellery and metal things (I'd packed a brolley, keys, deodrant, bangles, a long pretty necklace...). No one is going to be eyeing you up and it will make the Police's job easier when you go through metal detectors.

Whatever you're up to and where ever you are this weekend- God bless!

Westminster Abbey

I'm currently sitting in the glorious Abbey, waiting to begin our second rehearsal for the ecumenical service taking place this evening. I've never been inside before, so what an occasion to be here. The music is being rehearsed at the moment and from where I'm sitting I can see where the Holy Father will be seated during the service. The unity and strength of our Churches is an important element of this visit and the agenda was set from the word go yesterday as both the Queen and Pope Benedict reiterated a desire for strong bonds between our Churches. Let's hope this service can encourage and reassure people that there is no I in team and we are united in our faith- not segregated in it. The evening prayer will be broadcast live at 6pm this evening on BBC 2.

I love this

A post from Fr Ray Blake (PP, Brighton, A &B) has summarised the events of the day best for me. Enjoy!

Photo Post

The Papal Plane is about to leave Rome.

The Pope is heading through Edinburgh in the Popemobile. 125 000 people were there, according to Jack Valero, who said he had it from the police.

Around 70 000 people were at Bellahouston Park. Amazing scenes.
The Nunciature this evening was amazing....I shall post tomorrow.

Thursday 16 September 2010

The Pope is Here

Oh wow. What a day! The crowds went crazy at Eccleston Square when the Holy Father appeared out of the plane. Ever since, the mood has completely changed: it's just an amazingly optimistic and happy moment for our Church.

God bless the Pope!

I don't have long, I am watching the Mass in Bellahouston Park on the TV. The blue skies and the huge crowds are just fantastic and so moving. The Holy Father's homily was simple but effective. Wonderful stuff.

Once the mass is over, I will pop into a fast food outlet and then head to the Apostolic Nunciature. If you're in London, why not join us for a prayer vigil from 9pm, and then to welcome the Holy Father as he heads there to go to bed.

The Holy Father in Scotland

Today really is an incredibly exciting day. I'm currently watching a replay of Pope Benedict's arrival to Scotland and it's now I begin to comprehend how humble I feel to be alive to witness the second visit of a Pope to our country. Just this morning from 8am onwards, people have literally spread the joy of God to everyone and anyone-whether they will listen or not. I'm so happy that so many people are just doing whatever they can to spread this anticipation- twitter will be chogged up this weekend.

For many Catholics in the UK, this weekend is going to be a pilgrimage like no other-but we must also do our best to spread this to our fellow Christians and members of the Catholic community who may not be able to get to any of the events.

The visit is being well televised, as I said I am watching the coverage that was on this morning and I'm aware that the BBC are broadcasting the mass at Bellahouston Park at 5pm (BBC2) and the evening service at Westminster Abbey is also being televised. So people can get involved right from the comfort of their homes. To find out exactly when programmes are on, visit

The Papal Visit (, follow @thepapalvisit on twitter, 'The Papal Visit' on facebook) coordinators have also launched a mobi site which works on just about every smartphone, so for those of you are unfortunately working over the weekend, you too can stay well on track with live footage of this four day visit.

So much time and preparation has gone into this visit, and it's only fair to support fellow communicaiton officers by sharing with you the work that they have done. Gerard Owen and Alice O'Neil have been busy working hard in the diocese of Clifton, creating podcasts to archive their interviews with a variety of people from our community. Visit to listen to these.

Claz Gomez, from the diocese of Westminster has contributed to the preparation of this visit, promoting the visit, working on interviews and producing some insightful blog posts.

Rebecca Ryder of Merseyside has also been spreading joyful noise, doing an interview with BBC Us the Southwark team also have made our presence known on facebook, like our page 'My Papal Visit 2010!'

So with all these different places to go for information, no one should feel left out or go without coverage this weekend.

No more days to go. The Papal Visit is here.
God bless Pope Benedict XVI.

Wednesday 15 September 2010

A very nice piece on Channel 4

Go here to see Matt Roche Saunders and Matt O'Gorman talking about the priesthood.

Catholic Women's Ordination

I should say that this piece is entirely my own personal opinion and I welcome comments.

CWO had a demonstration outside Westminster Cathedral this evening. I was passing by there with friends, Ross Kempsell and Matt Roche-Saunders, and this has led me to a quite interesting revelation.

Ross and Matt are both in their late teens: Ross is going to be the Boat-boy for the Pope at Westminster Cathedral (what an honour!), and Matt is a fellow Papal Visit Comms Officer, as well as a key aide to the amazing Fr Stephen Langridge. Our combined age (late 50s) was almost certainly lower than almost any of the protesters (there was possibly one who was younger, though she may have been a journalist).

I hope that this is the message that comes from the Papal Visit: the church is alive, the church is young, and it has moved on from these endless internal debates to look outwards and re-evangelise the world. We are called to be heralds of the Gospel. We are not fulfilling that role very effectively at the moment, I feel.

Oh and by the way, if you are in any doubt on the subject of women's ordination: Roma locuta est, causa finita est. Rome has spoken, the matter is settled. The Church has no authority, now or ever, to confer Holy Orders on a woman.

I was unsure whether to put up such a difficult post today, but I feel that is essential that we use the Papal Visit to move on from the constant reliving of the Second Vatican Council and that period of 'navel-gazing'. It was valuable, yes, but the time has come to change our focus. We live in a fiercely secular age and we must spread the Gospel: of which the essence is the person of Jesus Christ, and the love, mercy and forgiveness that flow from his redemptive sacrifice on the Cross.

God bless, readers.


The Bishop of Rome, for only the 2nd time in history, will set foot on British soil. What will you do? Will you be there when the Pope arrives at the Nunciature tomorrow evening? Will you be lining the streets as the pope-mobile passes? Will you be at the Vigil in Hyde Park? Or at the Beatification in Birmingham?

You decide. Witness to the Faith. Be there.

We pray for our Holy Father, Pope Benedict.

Heart Gives Unto Heart- The official Papal Visit radio station

I've been working closely with Jillie Bracey to promote this amazing website which went live yesterday morning.

With programmes produced from young people in our schools among the diocese, to clergy members sharing their faith experiences to gospel choirs- this radio station has something for everyone. Gerry Coates and Jillie have been working hard on this radio station for quite some time- and decided to launch it to coincide with the visit- giving people a voice and a facility to aid preparation for this weekend.

Yesterday afternoon I listened to a fabulous programme on Cardinal Newman; giving me a chance to learn and reflect on this great man and his motto 'Heart Gives Unto Heart'.

With competitions to enter pictures and voting for favourite hymns, the website is also very interactive; meaning listeners can really express their joy over the next couple of days.

So if you haven't already, visit and have a listen!
They are also on facebook (so become a friend) and twitter- follow @HGUHRadio.

Just one day to go.

Tuesday 14 September 2010

A little bit of vanity

You can scroll down here to see a profile of me on the BBC!

This made me smile

After a ludicrously busy at Papal Visit HQ (over 200 messages on our machine this morning, plus emails & facebook posts), followed by a terrifying driving lesson, this has really cheered me up. Hope it does the same for you!

40 hours to go until our beloved Pope arrives. I'm really excited, especially as the weather looks survivable.....

God bless, readers

The Trouble with the Pope

I watched some interesting telly yesterday evening- 'The Trouble With the Pope' on Channel 4 with Peter Tachell exploring the idea that the Holy Father's visit should not be welcomed to our country; laced with accusations that he is of unsavoury nature. Focusing mainly of Pope Benedict's views on homosexuality, scientific reseach and family planning, I was left shocked by the claims that Mr Thachell made and I do feel that he was misrepresenting the Church as an entire community and had chosen to take things out of context, but the doucumentary does rasie healthy debate and highlights that the Papal Visit is filtering its way through the media.

This should mean that when we go live by the end of the week, more people will be curious to watch coverage of the events and get involved as they are keen to see the flip side of Peter's arguments.

We must recognise that this negative and accusatory behaviour is just history repeating itself, people didn't like Jesus and he was persecuted for living a different way. We as a Church should not take this documentary and other programmes presenting themselves this week as a blow, but should welcome them as an opportunity to challenge our faith, to question the Church- something I feel can only strengthen our faith in Christ Jesus. We must see this finger-wagging as our burden, our cross in modern day society that we must carry- in a simliar way to Jesus' own plight that he went thorugh to save us all. We have to relish in this chance to grow spiritually in preparation of the Holy Father's arrival, not allow scepticism to dampen our spirits but refresh and renew our faith.

Just two days to go now.

Monday 13 September 2010


Come to the Apostolic Nunciature from 9pm on Thursday evening and join in a vigil of prayer. Bring a candle or torch if you can!

64 hours to go!

First assembly of the week

This morning in Bexleyheath I stepped back into my old school to talk to the girls about the events that will take place this weekend.

To say I was nervous is an understatement, but the 200 year 10 girls were warm, responsive and welcoming, making the morning a really exciting opportunity for them to prepare themselves for the weekend.

Accompanied by the youtube video 'Do you know Pope Benedict XVI?', I spent a few minutes trying to illustrate the importance of the visit, the joy that surrounds it and how important it is for the us to share this pilgrimage with other members of our Christian community.

Hopefully the girls took something away from it as the school provides many ways for them to get invovled- having set up a Papal Visit Committee team, the head Mrs Slonecki taking five girls to Twickenham on Friday, 8 girls going with staff to Hyde Park whilst being followed by the BBC and all of the girls will be getting bookmarks specially made to remind them of this weekend.

Onwards and upwards for the rest of the week. Only 3 days to go.

Thursday 9 September 2010

Greenwich Deanery meeting

This evening I popped along to my local deanery preparation meeting with the young people for the Hyde Park event. It was a fabulous time spent together, with the young people having the opportunity to meet with people from different parishes and to ask questions (one young lady enquiring if she could obtain a special blessing from the Holy Father) and get information ahead of next week. What struck me the most was a feeling of genuine appreciation for the privilege that has been graced upon them and a feeling of excitement and the realisation that this chance may never come again.

One thing I feel important to point out however, is how long the day is going to be. Many of the 16-19 year old people I met this evening are used to long days at school and college, but next Saturday is going to be a 7am-11pm day for our group. It is very important that we pilgrims get enough sleep the night before and stay well hydrated throughout the day, otherwise a spectacular day could become unimportant because of a need to go to bed.

Putting negativity aside, we have seven days left to go.

Wednesday 8 September 2010


Get yourselves onto the streets, people! Line the popemobile routes in Edinburgh & London.

Details here.

Photo credit: Mazur/

Update from Monday's Meeting in Wimbledon

I publicised the meeting about the Papal Visit at Sacred Heart, Wimbledon, from Joanna Bogle. She has this update for us:

We offered fresh coffee and Bavarian chocolate cake, suggested a £3.00 donation
(proceeds to Maryvale) and advertised the event in the parish newsletter and in
neighbouring parishes. We expected a reasonable turnout - the parish is a big
one with good numbers for Sunday Masses. We got a magnificent crowd - extra
chairs brought in, standing room only at the back, people sitting on the floor.
The parish priest gave a wonderful welcome, and as people left they were given
copies of the special edition of Magnificat booklet, with all the liturgies for
the Papal visit. It was a simply wonderful evening.

Exciting roles

I ask all you bloggers to keep all the communiction officers in your prayers and thoughts as many of them hurry around to finish final preparations for next week. I myself will be going to my old secondary school (St Catherine's, Bexleyheath) to do some assemblies on the importance of the visit and encoruage the girls to get involved. I have also been privileged enough to be considered to read at the ecumenical service taking place on the Friday of the visit.

There's still many things people can do to get involved. Facebook is home to 'The Papal Visit' and 'My Papal Visit 2010!', twitterers can follow @the papal visit and for radio listeners there is @HGUHRadio.

A new blog, 'Kids quiz the Pope' created by Joanne Hill ( has been set up for primary school aged children and Paschal Uche has been busy talking to BBC Essex about his thoughts on the state visit. It's all happening and there are tonnes of ways you can get involved. Pick your favourtie social media tool and no doubt someone is covering the Papal Visit on there.

So please keep us in your prayers and lets hope for good weather!

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Fresh beginnings...

With the start of a new term in full swing and many of our young people starting at new schools, this afternoon I was reminded of the epic journeys home from the place of learning; being allowed to travel by public transport on your own, the scramble to get on the bus and the hassle of having to remember to carry your oyster card. I was taken back to a time of sheer excitement and exuberance.

New beginnings are also marked within the Catholic Church this month as just next week this country will see a historical event take place. Pope Benedict in a way will be refreshing us from our long summer break (and in some ways offer spiritual homework) and will provide the Church with a slightly older, wiser face in the light of recent events that have been highlighted within our community. The 16th September 2010 marks the beginning of new things in the life of the Church including a new missal and preparations for World Youth Day Madrid 2011.

I wonder how we will approach next week. Will it be the same sight as a Tuesday afternoon waiting to get on a bus?

Monday 6 September 2010

From the Archbishop

When I was in Balham, Fr Stephen mentioned that +Peter Smith, our newly-minted Archbishop, has written to our schools about the Papal Visit.

Here's the full message from the Archdiocesan website:

Archbishop Peter has written personally to every college and school in Southwark
encouraging them to send students to the Papal Vigil at Hyde Park.

school has been offered a substantial allocation of complementary Pilgrim Packs
and Passes for the Vigil.

The Archbishop is particularly keen that all
the young people of our diocese be given the opportunity to attend the Vigil
which will have a particular youth focus.

Passes can also be allocated
to the youth groups and other official organisations of the diocese.

more information please contact the diocesan Vocations Director,
Fr Stephen
Langridge, by emailing him at

In Balham

Tonight I was over in Balham for a meeting with the Balham & Lambeth Deanery groups of young people who are attending the Mass in Westminster Cathedral. It was a lovely and lively evening and the youngsters were very enthusiastic, which was great to see. A big thank you to Laura & Clare for their hard work. I was also able to catch up with Fr Stephen Langridge, the Parish Priest in Balham, who is also Director of Vocations for Southwark, and also Sam, Matt, Hannah, Steve & Marcus, who are all doing a huge amount to make the Papal Visit a success. Thanks guys! It's an amazing parish and it's always very revitalising to be with them all at the end of a long day......

Sunday 5 September 2010

The Papal Visit on Facebook

2049 likes so far. Can we grow that to 2500 in the next 10 days? All bloggers, please remind your readers to like 'The Papal Visit' and also if they want a more Southwark-based approach (which is always a good thing) 'My Papal Visit 2010'.

God bless


Wimbledon seems to be the centre of much action to do with the papal visit, with good reason: the Apostolic Nunciature on Parkside is where the Holy Father will be staying throughout the Visit.

Many of us will be gathering outside the Nunciature on the evening of Thursday 16th September, from around 9pm. If you're in the London area, come along, we will sing hymns, say the rosary, and hopefully enjoy the good weather on Wimbledon Common. Then at some point we will welcome the Holy Father.

Also, this coming Monday, Joanna Bogle brings word of a lovely preparatory event:

If you want to get in the mood for the Papal visit - and find out more about the
Pope, his life, his message - come along to the Sacred Heart parish centre, Edge
Hill, Wimbledon, SW19, on Monday, Sept 6th. We have a superb 60-minute DVD about
the Pope. Coffee and Bavarian chococolate cake. Admission £3.00 and proceeds
will go to the Maryvale Institute (the study centre established in the house
whjere John Henry Newman once lived). All welcome. Just turn up!

Inspirit with Jumoke Fashola

This morning I was interviewed for Inspirit with Jumoke Fashola (pictured, photo from BBC), BBC Radio London's Faith & Ethics programme. It was quite an interesting experience: I was with Neil D'Aguiar and Robert Colquhoun, both from Catholic Voices, who are both excellent and experienced at this sort of thing. It sounds like Catholic Voices has been a big success, which is great news. The conversation with Jumoke centred on my personal 'faith journey' (cradle Catholic) and then moved on to the Papal Visit. Listen in on Sunday 12th September, 6-9am, BBC London 94.9.
Enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday 4 September 2010

Southwark's Bishops in Rome

Left to Right: Bishop Paul, HH Benedict XVI, Bishop John, Bishop Pat.

I found this rather nice photo of our bishops (during the sede vacante period) in Rome. Please pray for me as tomorrow morning I shall be interviewed for BBC London 94.9's Faith & Ethics Programme, to go out next week.

Photo Credit: L'Osservatore Romano via Southwark Archdiocese.

The Enquiry Centre

When I'm not busily blogging away for you, dear readers, I am one of the staff at the Papal Visit Enquiry Centre, and I thought now might be a good time to publicise their number.

The Papal Visit Enquiry Centre
39 Eccleston Square
0207 901 4848
If you need help that you can't get from your parish priest, or parish pilgrim leader, or from your diocese....give us a ring! The phone lines are very busy, which makes for an exhausting but fascinating day for our little team.

Newman's Southwark Connections

Did you know that Cardinal Newman offered his first mass in St George's Church, now St George's Cathedral? Find out more at Southwark Archdiocese's new website section on the visit!

Tuesday 31 August 2010

Ecumenical Celebrations

This weekend I was away at Greenbelt festival (a big Christian festival) at Cheltenham Racecourses and I was really impressed by how much I enjoyed the bank holiday weekend. It was a proper laugh and a great way for me to enjoy my first camping experience (I even coped with the ice cold temperatures of Sunday night!)

If I could pick three words to describe the weekend, I would pick: joy, happiness and laughter.

It was a wonderful opportunity to be joined with other Christians in our belief in Jesus Christ- learning from each other, sharing meals with people and chatting to strangers.

For some people, the Papal Visit in just a few weeks will be some people's Greenbelt, WYD or even pilgrimage to Lourdes. This visit is a reminder of our unity and a celebration of faith, culture and diversity of the world.

To have a look at some pictures from the weekend, visit my flickr page:

Quotation of the Day

I know that you as young people have great aspirations, that you want to
pledge yourselves to build a better world. Let others see this, let the world
see this, since this is exactly the witness that the world expects from the
disciples of Jesus Christ

- Pope Benedict XVI

World Youth Day 2005 - Cologne


Today was the original end date of our poll but I have decided to extend it's life up until the end of the Visit. Keep voting people!

Also to the three Monsignor Guido Marinis who voted on that poll: have a great visit, we hope you like Britain.

I may add a new poll in the next couple of days: any suggestions for the topic?


I got my copy of the Magnificat book of the liturgies for the Papal Visit, and I must admit it has made me a lot more excited about the Visit now. I'm really excited that I'm going to be there when he beatifies Cardinal Newman and I also can't wait to hear what he says to British society at Westminster Hall.

With just two weeks to go, the work is going to be pretty intense for all of us who are trying to make this a successful visit: so readers please, keep us in your prayers. But most of all keep our Holy Father Pope Benedict in your prayers. Offer everything up for him: your mass, your private prayer, your rosary, all discomforts and problems you have: for the next fortnight, let's make Pope Benedict the focus of all our prayers. That's the best way to prepare for the Visit.

St Aidan - pray for us

Monday 30 August 2010

Today's Suggestion

Ask your Parish Priest to include the Prayer for the Papal Visit in the bidding prayers at Mass this weekend and for the following 2 weekends.

God of truth and love,
your Son, Jesus Christ, stands as the light
to all who seek you with a sincere heart.
As we strive with your grace
to be faithful in word and deed,
may we reflect the kindly light of Christ
and offer a witness of hope and peace to all.
We pray for Pope Benedict
and look forward with joy
to his forthcoming visit to our countries.
May he be a witness to the unity and hope
which is your will for all people.
We make our prayer through Christ our Lord.
Our Lady, Mother of the Church — pray for us.
St Andrew — pray for us.
St George — pray for us.
St David — pray for us.

Sunday 29 August 2010

Liturgy Wars?

There has been a lot of discussion recently about the liturgy for the Hyde Park vigil and the Beatification Mass at Cofton Park: many have said that the music at Hyde Park is too modern and doesn't take enough from the rich musical heritage of the Catholic Church. Others have criticised the choice of James MacMillan's mass setting for Cofton Park (and Bellahouston Park). It is not for this blog to judge, but perhaps we can try and find a way to satisfy both sides.

We give you 'Gather us in', but not as you know it:

Thanks to Dn. Lawrence Lew OP for this one. Have a great Sunday!

Saturday 28 August 2010

Cardinal O'Brien's Hope for the Visit

“I should particularly like the Holy Father to remind Catholics in Scotland of the basics of our Catholic faith and how we should be living it in these challenging times.”

What are your hopes for the Visit of His Holiness Benedict XVI to this country?

19 days, folks.

Thanks to Fr John Boyle, a Southwark priest currently on Sabbatical in the USA, for the quotation.

Friday 27 August 2010

New from the Visit Co ordinator

Msgr Summersgill has another weekly update out. Very interesting. He says that everyone should be receiving their missals for the Visit over the next few days, which is very exciting.

I have been finalising my own plans for the period of the Visit: Dani & I will be at the youth event in the Piazza of Westminster Cathedral, then looking after the young people of our Archdiocese on their journey to Hyde Park. I imagine their will be quite a lot of media interest that day, which could be quite stressful but should be very interesting. Also, I am now anticipating getting about 3 hours sleep, probably on the floor at Holy Ghost, Balham, on the Saturday night of the visit - but we can all sleep once the Pope heads back to Rome.

Hope all's well with you, readers.

Monday 23 August 2010


I'm off to Devon for a few days so I won't be able to update the blog much this week: perhaps Dani will, who knows?

A couple of quick suggestions before I go: why not buy some papal flags for your pilgrim group to carry around during the Visit events? Would be a great sign of solidarity with the Pope and would look great on TV, I think. Also, why not arrange for your parish hall or social club to show the papal visit events live for those not able to go? For example, almost all of us in Southwark will be watching the Bellahouston Park Mass and Westminster Hall Speech on TV: why not do it together? If you have a TV licence, you're fine - you can view the events on our website, live-streamed, or on one of several TV channels.

Have a good week and get to work on preparing for the arrival of the Successor of Peter!

Saturday 21 August 2010

John Henry Newman of the Digital Age

I have noticed that 'John Henry Newman' is a fan of our papal visit fanpage, 'My Papal Visit 2010': high praise indeed! Why not go and join him?

God bless

St Pius X - pray for us.

Wednesday 18 August 2010


Go here to leave your comment for the BBC Sunday programme about the forthcoming papal visit: make sure it's coherent and positive please! Also why not put your comment in our comment box here at BiS2010 as well?

Thanks to Fr Stephen Langridge for the tip.

Just because it's amazing

Thanks to Father Dominic Allain (PP, Barnes), for this glorious photo of St Peter's, taken during the recent Quo Vadis visit there.

Weekly Update from Msgr Summersgill

Check out Msgr Summersgill's weekly update! Also on our website, you can now see the full detailed itinerary for the Holy Father's visit. Enjoy!

Oh my life- we're nearly there!

Not so long ago, James mentioned something about 'twibbons'. I finally have one and as I added my sticker to my profile picture on facebook, I realised that in just four weeks history is going to happen right here. We are all going to be entering an exciting and momentous weekend together celebrating our faith. No amount of preparation, tweeting, blogging is going to truly prepare us for the moment that will remind us that we all follow the same person.

Jesus Christ.

It's going to be a weekend full of fun and laughter; joy and love and no matter what we are going through in our lives in that moment in time, for just a few hours- maybe even a few moments we will be able to revel in God's glory. Spread the word. The vicar of Christ will be here in 40 days.

Sunday 15 August 2010


My friend and comrade in arms Joanna Bogle has reminded me of one of the simplest and yet most pleasant parts of John Henry Newman's legacy: his glorious hymns.
Over the next few days I shall be posting some of these hymns with a little of my own thoughts on them: I hope you will join in discussing them. First off, then, is 'Praise to the Holiest in the Height'.
The three things that strike me most immediately about this hymn, apart from its general beauty, are:
It recalls in my mind that haunting phrase in the Exsultet at the Easter Vigil 'O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam that won for us so great a redeemer'. I was thurifer, standing by the cantor at the Vigil this year and those words moved me almost to tears (though not enough to put out a fuming thurible, thankfully).
Of course there is a rather complex argument about whether Christ would have come without the fall of Adam, which I think I will leave. Suffice it to say Newman catches very well the irony of the situation, painful and yet glorious at the same time: 'O wisest love! that flesh and blood which did in Adam fail...should strive and should prevail'. Wonderful stuff!
Secondly, the words 'in the garden secretly and on the cross on high' struck a chord with me: they remind us that carrying the cross, for Christians, must contain both public and private sorrow, just as Our Lord's passion did. An important message, that one.
Thirdly, and this may sound rather useless, but I think Ven. JHN delivers most beautifully of all an overarching message that God is supremely wise, and that his love and his Incarnation and his Passion are all an act of wisdom - not just of an sentimental love for humanity, but out of a plan for all time.

What do you think?
Praise to the Holiest in the height,
And in the depth be
In all
His words most wonderful,
Most sure in all His ways.

O loving
of our God!
When all was sin and shame,
A second Adam to the
And to the rescue came.

O wisest
love! that flesh and blood,
Which did in Adam fail,
Should strive afresh
against the foe,
strive and should prevail.

And that a
higher gift than grace
flesh and blood refine,
God’s Presence
and His very Self,
And Essence
all divine.

O generous love! that
He, who smote,
In Man for man the
The double agony in Man
For man should

And in the
garden secretly,
on the Cross on high,
Should teach His brethren,
and inspire
suffer and to die.

Praise to the Holiest in the
And in
the depth be praise;
In all His words most wonderful,
Most sure in all
His ways.


Mac tipped me off about a vigil of prayer being held at the Apostolic Nunciature on Saturday evening during the Papal Visit. Sounds very interesting, and kudos to the Knights of St Columba for organising it!

The Knights of St. Columba have decided to organise a two-hour candlelight vigil on Wimbledon Common, opposite the Apostolic Nunciature, which will be the Holy Father's residence while he is in London.

The Vigil is intended to be a relaxed and informal affair: standing along the edge of the Common (Parkside, A219) people will sing a few well-known hymns, pray the rosary, and, at twilight, light candles (which will be provided by the Knights) as a sign to our Holy Father that "the Catholic Faith shines bright in England - Our Lady's Dowry" and to demonstrate love and support of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, the Vicar of Jesus Christ.

The Vigil will be on Saturday 18th September, 6:30pm - 8:30pm.

(Nearest tube stations are Putney Bridge or Wimbledon, and then take the 93 bus to Parkside Hospital, on the corner of Parkside and Alfreton Close.)

There will be a similar vigil on the Thursday evening to welcome the Holy Father to the Nunciature on his arrival from Scotland. We should have more information on that soon, though you can always email me at if you're interested.

Blackfen: 2

Dani & I had a lovely morning in Blackfen today: we attended a Missa Cantata in the Extaordinary Form, a first for both of us, and then met Fr Tim Finigan, Mac McLernon (to whom I owe this lovely photo of the elevation of the Host) and many parishioners in the Social Club afterwards. It was good to meet the parish pilgrim leaders and hear the thoughts of the people of the parish about the Visit. Thanks Blackfen!

If any other parishes want to follow Blackfen's lead and invite us over, get in touch! I'm at

Friday 13 August 2010

From Menevia With Love

In the first of our series of guest blogs from friends of Southwark's Papal Visit Team, we welcome this article from Matt Roche-Saunders, a student at Exeter University, though originally from the Menevia Diocese, who was a founder member of Southwark's Quo Vadis vocations discernment group. Thanks Matt!

Shrine Rector sheds light on Statue’s journey

As the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Britain draws near, groups of pilgrims around the country are busily planning how to see him at one of the main events. I spoke to Fr Jason Jones, parish priest at the Welsh National Shrine to Our Lady in Cardigan, and he told me that he is preparing to make a very privileged journey, one which will be of special interest to Welsh Catholics.
Upon hearing the news that our Holy Father will not be visiting Wales in 2010, Fr Jason suggested that Wales should instead go to him, and so the Statue of Our Lady of the Taper will make the journey from Cardigan to Westminster to be with the Pope. The Statue depicts Our Lady seated, in one hand holding the Christ child, and in the other a taper candle. On a deeper level, Fr Jason points out that both hands are holding the light of the world. Pope Benedict will bless and light a taper candle, and place it into the hand of the statue, following which he will lead the congregation in the Shrine prayer.

One of the main reasons Pope Benedict is visiting the UK this year is to preside at the Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, who died in 1890. During his lifetime, Newman wrote the hymn ‘Lead kindly light’ – what a perfect opportunity for Welsh Catholics to follow the Statue of Our Lady, holding the light of Christ aloft.

This year marks an historical period for the Welsh National Shrine – the town of Cardigan celebrates its 900th anniversary, the Shrine Church marks 40 years as a National Shrine, and next year will be its 25th anniversary as the National Shrine of Wales. For the statue to make such a momentous pilgrimage to Westminster means that we have the opportunity to make it a very special year for Our Lady of the Taper.

A Papal visit always presents an opportunity for renewal, and for people to ask the basic questions of life. Fr Jason recognises this, linking the light of the statue to the rekindling of the light of faith at the time of the visit, and he prays that the visit will bring about an increased devotion to Our Lady, the light which leads us to her Son, Jesus Christ.

The journeying of the Statue of Our Lady of the Taper to the home of English and Welsh Catholics, Westminster Cathedral, will have added significance, according to Fr Jason - in 1956, the Shrine was re-established, and a carved statue was blessed at the Cathedral by Cardinal Griffin.

When Pope John Paul II designated Cardigan as the National Shrine for Welsh Catholics in 1986, he blessed a candle in Rome, which was then placed in the hand of Our Lady at the inaugural Mass of the Church as National Shrine in May of the same year. That candle now rests in a carved box of Welsh oak, and the candle blessed by Pope Benedict XVI will be similarly kept in a locally carved box of wood and pewter, portraying just some of 50 Welsh flowers named after Mary, such as Dagrhau Mair (Mary’s tears), more commonly known as fuscia.

Matt R-S

With Fr Jason and with our dear Matt, let us pray that the Statue’s journey and the Papal Visit as a whole will enkindle in us all the kindly light of Christ.

Thursday 12 August 2010

New Vocabulary

Since getting this job with the Visit team I've learnt a lot of new vocabulary. While I am yet to be convinced twitter is an effective means of communication, it does come with an amazing, if bewildering array of vocabulary. Today's new word is 'twibbon': I've been persuaded to add a twibbon (twitter ribbon for those who spell blog web-log), which indicates that I support the Papal Visit. You should get one too! Go to @The Papal Visit, and scroll down a little for the details. Quite a nice little gesture.


Dani & I have been very kindly invited to meet parishioners and chat with people in Our Lady of the Rosary parish in Blackfen, this Sunday. Why not pop over to their 10.30 Mass and say hi to us afterwards, if you're in the area.

Thanks to Father Tim Finigan and Mac McLernon for inviting us!

A Reminder

If you or anyone you know is without a ticket and would still like to come to the Vigil at Hyde Park, comment here (add not for publication if you want) or email me at and we'll see what we can do. We definitely want anyone who wants to come to be able to, and it seems mad to waste the few remaining spare tickets!

God bless!

Wednesday 11 August 2010

I love this photo

John Paul II kisses the ground at Gatwick Airport. Beautiful.

Tuesday 10 August 2010

A very moving video

This video on youtube moved me very profoundly. What do others think?

Kind words....

...from another Southwark blogger. Thanks very much!

280 000....

....pilgrim packs are being prepared for the papal visit (thanks to The Papal Visit facebook feed for that news!). Don't worry they will be rather more modern than our pilgrim on the left's pack.

They will give those attending all the information they need for their pilgrimage. 280 000 represents roughly 1 of every 5 regular mass-goers, which is not bad. By my estimate on his visit to the United States about the same number attended the papal events. Correct me if I'm wrong anyone with better information? Bear in mind the US has 50million Catholics, and our visit doesn't seem so small after all, in my humble opinion. The two major masses of that visit were in football stadiums and around 50 000 attended each. The numbers will be significantly higher than that at both Hyde Park and Cofton Park, and I believe (though I don't know) that almost 100 000 will attend the mass in Bellahouston Park.

Anyway, there has been a lot of negative press around the organisation of the Visit so far: I'd say it's time for that to stop and for people to get behind the Visit 100%, if for no other reason than because we love Pope Benedict!

St Lawrence - Food for Thought

St Lawrence was a deacon and a martyr of the church at Rome, who was ordered by the city prefect to hand over the wealth of the Church to the imperial government. Lawrence asked for a time to prepare the inventory. The prefect returned to find an array of widows, orphans, lepers and beggars: Lawrence told him, 'This is the treasure of the Church'.

In his rage, the city prefect ordered that Lawrence should be roasted on irons. In a stunning piece of bravado Lawrence's last words were apparently: 'That side is well done. Turn me over and then you can eat me'.

This great saint gave his life to the poor and downtrodden and suffered martyrdom for their sake and for the sake of Christ. How much do we follow his example?

Monday 9 August 2010

Benedict XVI in Poland

Caption Competition anyone?
Particularly sweet in this photo are the Holy Father's stock/ leggings....and his red shoes. Very cool, and traditionally papal!

Cofton Park

There's an excellent section on the main papal visit site now regarding the Beatification Mass in Cofton Park, and lots of logistical stuff is explained. Check it out:

Also if anyone is without a ticket for the Hyde Park event and would still like to go, there may be some availability from a reserve group. If you're interested comment please!

Happy Feast of St Theresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)!

Sunday 8 August 2010


I recommend that you all buy a papal flag to put in your window at the moment, and then to carry around with you during the papal visit, especially at the major events. If nothing else, it is an act of witness, and it will allow the media to pick out the hopefully huge groups of faithful and excited Catholics who are following the Holy Father on this historic Apostolic Journey.

You can buy a flag here ( for just £1 - so why not buy a couple and give them out to friends or fellow pilgrims?

Just a thought. Enjoy your Sunday!

Friday 6 August 2010

Newman's Theology

If you've got 5minutes, you can read some of Newman's thinking in this interesting article from Commonweal magazine -

Thanks to Luke Coppen & Catholic Herald's Morning Must Reads ( for that information!

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.

41 days

Only forty-one days to go until Benedict XVI arrives in the UK: what are you doing to prepare? Our Lady of the Rosary parish, in Blackfen, in Southwark, has a few suggestions on their parish blog: If anyone has any more, just pop them in the combox! Also The Papal Visit website has a section about Newman's theology now, which is well worth a look -

Enjoy & happy Feast of the Transfiguration!

Wednesday 4 August 2010

Monsignor Summersgill

Father Andrew has released a new weekly update: this week's deals with the financial issues for pilgrims and the new shop- you can hear it at I'm considering which of the hoodies that they have I'm going to buy, and I suggest you all pop over and have a look at them. Some great stuff, rather surprisingly.

Happy Feast of St John Vianney, readers! Remember to pray for your parish priest today.

Tuesday 3 August 2010

Hey everyone! I'm Dani, I'm 19 and I've just finished my gap year working for the youth service for Southwark. I'm dead excited about this coming visit and I think so much exciting and positive stuff is going to come out of September. All the communication teams up and down the country are hoping to give people a real fresh insight into what the experience is like for the people attending the events, especially the young people. So if you're not able to get to the events- this is the place to keep up to date!

I've also set up a youtube (my username is 6Danidani) and flickr account ( so you can keep 110% up-to-date with EVERYTHING going on over the four days =).

I hope that whatever you're doing to prepare for the visit goes well and remember to pray for the Holy Father as we get closer to history!

John Henry Newman's Life

John Henry Newman was born on 21st February, 1801, in London, the eldest son of a London banker. His family were ordinary church-going members of the established Anglican Church, without any strong religious tendencies, though the young John Henry did learn at an early age to take a great delight in the Bible. He was sent to Ealing School in 1808, and it was there, eight years later, that he underwent a profound religious conversion, which was to determine the rest of his life as a quest for spiritual perfection.....

Read the rest at the Cause for his Canonisation's website -

About Us: #1

I thought you might like to know a little bit about Southwark's two Papal Visit Communications Officers, so I'll go first: I'm James, and I'm 18. I'm starting at Oxford in October, and finished school earlier this year. I've always been interested in the media and am really excited at this opportunity to serve the church and help it improve its often disastrous media profile. I'm also really looking forward to meeting Southwark pilgrims and helping them get the most out of the Papal Visit.

Despite so much negative publicity and organisational difficulties, the papal visit is going ahead and that means Britain's Catholics are going to hear from our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, which is far more important than anything else, in the end. I'm looking forward to that most of all!

God bless you all

44 Days!

If you're from Southwark Archdiocese and you're coming as part of an organised group to one of the Visit events, we want to hear from you. Part of our job is meeting and supporting pilgrims from Southwark, and getting their stories heard in the media. Would your parish group be willing to be interviewed? Please consider it and leave a comment in the combox for us if you dare!

Also go here to see how important Benedict XVI is as a theologian - (thanks to Luke Coppen from the Catholic Herald for the link).

Monday 2 August 2010

Social Media

If you're active in social media, make sure to get engaged with Facebook and Twitter. It's a great piece of witness to become a fan of 'The Papal Visit' ( and also of 'My Papal Visit 2010' ( on Facebook and during the Visit our twitter feed, which will be set up soon and run by Dani, will give you up to the minute tweets from the papal events!

Why are there 2 different Facebook pages you ask? Well 'The Papal Visit' is a stream of info from the centre, from the organising team, whereas we run a slightly more relaxed and interactive service over at My Papal Visit. Hope you enjoy them both!

Welcome to the Southwark Papal Visit Blog!

Hi everyone, and welcome to the first post from the Southwark Papal Visit Blog. Over the next 6 weeks this blog should be a hub of information and conversation about the forthcoming Apostolic and State Visit of the Holy Father to the UK. Our main focus is going to be the involvement of the priests and people of Southwark Archdiocese ( in the Visit, as well as the more general information. We aim to be your simplest route into information about the visit in a less formal way than the central website (

This blog is being run by Daniella Adams and James Blythe, Southwark Archdiocese's Papal Visit Communications Team. We are volunteers whose role is to promote the visit through the media and support and energise the Southwark pilgrims who will be going to the major events of the Visit.

We hope you'll pop back from time to time to check in on Southwark's latest Papal Visit news.