A Special Collection and the Papal Visit

Next Sunday (23 May 2010), there will be a second collection as you leave church for the Papal Visit. Prayer cards for the Visit will be distributed to all parishioners. This collection will be taken in all parishes in England, Wales and Scotland. These collections will be held to assist in meeting the costs of the Visit payable by the Church, which are currently estimated to be at least £7m. Over £3m has already been raised towards this total.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols, President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said

“I would urge everyone in the Catholic community to pray for this Visit and to support the collection for it as generously as they can. The Holy Father’s Visit is a wonderful opportunity for the gentle light of faith to be contemplated afresh by everyone. He will confirm the strong faith of our own community. But my prayer, too, is that the Visit will serve to kindle a new spiritual vitality, a questioning of the heart for many in our society who may have no religious affiliation but who are in some way seeking a deeper meaning and purpose to their lives.“

The costs associated with the state aspects of the Visit will be paid by the government. The costs payable by the church consist mainly in the organising costs of three major public pastoral gatherings – in Scotland, London and the West Midlands.

Pope Benedict XVI will visit England and Scotland on a four-day Papal visit from 16-19 September 2010.

When Pope Benedict arrives in Scotland on Thursday 16th September, he will go firstly to Scotland where he will be received by Her Majesty The Queen, members of the Royal Family and people representing British society in the Palace of Holyrood House. Having met the Queen, the Pope will travel to Glasgow where he will celebrate an open-air Mass in the evening and then he will fly from Glasgow to London. The Holy Father will then be based in London for the remainder of the visit.

On Friday 17th September, Pope Benedict is going to St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, where there will be three aspects to his visit. The first is that he begins the day praying with representatives of religious congregations – particularly those who have a charism for education and a history of education.

He will then go and meet about 3,000 young people – schoolchildren, students – to celebrate Catholic education. From there he will then meet with religious leaders and people of religious faith. He will discuss with them religion and belief in our society.

Later in the day, the Pope is scheduled to meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury to speak with him in front of the Anglican diocesan bishops and the Catholic diocesan bishops of England and Wales.

He has then been invited, as part of the State visit, to address British society. Representatives of British society will be invited to Westminster Hall to hear the Pope’s address.

He will finish off the day with the Archbishop of Canterbury and Christian leaders at Westminster Abbey to celebrate Evening Prayer.

On Saturday 18th September, Pope Benedict will celebrate Mass in Westminster Cathedral where he will also, from there, greet the people of Wales.

Later in the day he will visit a home for older people, giving the Pope an opportunity to go to those who cannot meet with him, and then be present at a Vigil of prayer which again will be in the open air in London. I have heard on the grapevine that the Vigil will be a celebration for Young People in Hyde Park.

On Sunday 19th September the visit is focused very much on the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, and the Pope will celebrate that beatification in the West Midlands.

He will conclude the day by meeting with the bishops of England, Scotland and Wales in Oscott College before returning to Rome from Birmingham Airport.

How will St Robert’s be taking part in this important and momentous event for the Catholic Church in the United Kingdom? Well, there are a number of possibilities that we can explore. It may be easiest to arrange a coach to the Mass in Glasgow on the evening of Thursday 16th September or a coach to the Mass of Beatification on Sunday 19th September at Coventry Airport. Our Young People may wish to go to the Youth event on the evening on Saturday 18th September in Hyde Park.  I know that all the events are by ticket only and we don’t know how many will be allocated to our diocese. At the moment we will have to wait and see until more information is available.

Click here for more information on the Papal Visit.

Fr Lawence Jones