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: http://bit.ly/8ZtOma

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 james@scys.org.uk 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 james@scys.org.uk.

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 james@scys.org.uk 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: http://tiny.cc/ts529.

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 (http://tiny.cc/z0bug) 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 - http://tiny.cc/bqibn.

Thanks to Luke Coppen & Catholic Herald's Morning Must Reads (http://tiny.cc/e17ir) 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: http://rosary-blackfen.blogspot.com/. 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 - http://tiny.cc/uh89u.

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 http://tiny.cc/k2ats. 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 (www.flickr.com/photos/mypapalvisit2010) 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 - http://www.newmancause.co.uk/newman.html.

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 - http://tiny.cc/41iwn (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' (http://tiny.cc/s1m3s) and also of 'My Papal Visit 2010' (http://tiny.cc/pah9l) 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 (www.rcsouthwark.co.uk) 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 (www.thepapalvisit.org.uk).

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.