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.

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