The Visit of Pope Benedict XVI

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Photos and Link to Speeches and Homilies


Visit of Pope Benedict to England and Scotland

The Southwark Supplement

For the Holy Father's detailed itinerary please click here


Seminarians' photo-call with the Holy Father

On Sunday evening, 19th September, after the Holy Father had addressed the bishops of England, Wales and Scotland at St Mary's College, Oscott, and said farewell to them, he was driven to Birmingham Airport for his return flight to Rome.

Time, however, for him to be greeted enthusiastically by the seminarians of England, Wales and Scotland. They had taken part in the Beatification Mass at Cofton Park and now had their photo taken with him.

The Holy Father drove away with with their song 'Ad multos annos vivat' (May he live for many years) ringing in his ears. 


Archbishop Peter welcomes the Holy Father to Hyde Park

The Holy Father travelled in the popemobile for most of his journey from St Peter's Residence to Hyde Park. A huge crowd lined the route which took him up The Mall (decorated with alternate Union Flags and Papal Flags) and along Constitution Hill to Hyde Park Corner.

80,000 people were waiting in the Park. During the afternoon, a presentation on 'the heart of the Church', had been sponsored by CAFOD and produced in collaboration with the Catholic Enquiry Office.
On the Holy Father's arrival, Archbishop Peter welcomed him. In his address of welcome, he  said:

'We have come from all over Britain to share this historic moment with you and to celebrate and rejoice in the truth that God loves every human being unconditionally, irrespective of race, colour or creed. With you this evening we witness to the joy of being a follower of Jesus Christ, the light of the world, who stands at the door of every heart patiently waiting to be let in.'

Watch the Vigil of Prayer on the Official Papal Visit web site (82 minutes)

Text of Archbishop Peter's Welcome


Southwark Youth with diocesan banner at Hyde Park

Some of Southwark's young pilgrims with the diocesan banner in Hyde Park ready for the banner procession before the Holy Father's arrival.








Holy Father's visit to St Peter's Residence, Vauxhall

The Holy Father's visit to St Peter's Residence, Vauxhall, in the early evening of Saturday, 18th September, was a lovely occasion.He was greeted by Archbishop Peter and welcomed by Sr Marie Claire of the Little Sisters of the Poor.

He made a short visit to the chapel on his arrival and proceeded to the hall for the welcome. His gift to St Peter's Residence was a mosaic of St Peter.

Having met many of the residents, including elderly priests, with some of the Sisters and the staff in the hall, the Holy Father visited the rooms of three residents, who would not otherwise have seen him.

The previous warning that Meadow Road would be closed did not prevent a crowd gathering to greet the Holy Father. He left the grounds of St Peter's Residence and crossed the road to meet them.

A most memorable occasion, which demonstrated the Holy Father's pastoral concern for the elderly.

Watch the video of the Holy Father's visit to St Peter's Residence on the Official Papal Visit web site


Representing the Youth of Southwark

After the Papal Mass in Westminster Cathedral on Saturday, 18th September, the Holy Father was greeted by 2,500 young people from around England, Wales and Scotland gathered in the cathedral piazza.

Southwark's youth contingent numbered over 180 in the piazza with 20 in the banner procession.

Representing the young people of Southwark on the steps of the Cathedral was Oghengaren Abel-Unokan. She is a parishioner of Virgo Fidelis Parish, Upper Norwood.

Read Garen's personal reflection on the Mass at Westminster Cathedral and the Vigil of Prayer at Hyde Park


The 'Big Assembly' at St Mary's University College, Twickenham

The Holy Father's first event in England was a celebration of Catholic Education at St Mary's University College, Twickenham, on Friday morning, 17th September. It was attended by 4,000 school children and students, assembled in the Sports Arena.

In the picture the Holy Father receives a bouquet form one of the children from St Elizabeth's School in Richmond welcoming him. The bouquet was made by one of the parents.

Christine Brett, Headteacher at St Elizabeth's, was one of the organisers of this event, which was screened in schools throughout England, Wales and Scotland to an estimated audience of a million young people.

At the event, the Holy Father opened the John Paul II Institute for Sport.


First glimpse of the Holy Father in Southwark

The Holy Father flew from Glasgow to London Heathrow on Thursday evening, 16th September, after his Mass at Bellahouston Park.

He was driven to the Apostolic Nunciature in Wimbledon, where he will stay as the guest of the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz, for the duration of his visit.

The crowd holding a Vigil on Wimbledon Common, opposite the Nunciature, were delighted to get this glimpse of him at the window. (Photo: AP)


Southwark's gift to the Holy Father

On Saturday, 18th September 2010, during the Holy Father's visit to St Peter's Residence in Vauxhall, Mgr Matthew Dickens, Vicar General and Chancellor of the diocese, will present the Holy Father with this embroidered gift on behalf of the people of the diocese.

It was decided to commission textile artist Anne Kelly to design and make a framed embroidery piece as the Southwark diocesan presentation to the Holy Father on his visit to England.

The piece was intended to reflect the character and multicultural nature of the diocese. The artist was asked to include representations of St George’s and Canterbury cathedrals, a suitable piece of religious text, an indication of the martyred saints of the archdiocese and some traditional Catholic symbols or iconography.

The artist began by researching St George’s Cathedral and looking at the work of Pugin, who was its original architect. She also looked at other visual elements such as stained glass windows which could act as a framework for the plan of the piece.

The border surrounding the central panel is made up of a patchwork of different fabrics from the ethnic communities represented in the diocese (Chinese, Indian, South American, West African and Eastern European). This is broken up with small Pugin-like crosses and embroideries of flowers and plants found in South London and Kent.

The central panel has been embroidered on an ecclesiastical damask pattern which, using golden thread, frames and contains the different ‘patches’ placed on it. The dove and cross are traditional symbols, and the prayer book open invites us the prayers of the martyred saints of the diocese. The writing around the border is taken from St. Anselm. There are, as previously mentioned, the two cathedrals with St. Augustine of Canterbury in the centre. Small vignettes of London and Kent landscapes complete the geographical representations of the diocese. Archbishop Peter's crest is also included.

The piece is mounted on a ‘floating’ board and box framed in gold.

Please click here to see a larger unframed version of the gift


Archbishop Peter to accompany the Pope throughout his Visit

From the moment he lands at Edinburgh International Airport at 10:30am  on Thursday, 16th September, the Holy Father has a punishing schedule, which would be daunting for a far younger person. The Pope is 83.

During his liturgies and meetings he is expected to give fifteen homilies, addresses and speeches.

Supporting him on the whole of his itinerary will be his own personal entourage, visiting prelates and the Archbishops of England and Scotland.

Archbishop Peter will be among them. He will attend:

on Thursday, 16th September

  • the State Welcome and Audience with HM Queen Elizabeth II at the Palace of Holyroodhouse
  • the Celebration of Mass at Bellahouston Park, Glasgow

on Friday, 17th September

  • the meeting with the Anglican House of Bishops and the Catholic Diocesan Bishops at Lambeth Palace
  • the Address to British Society at Westminster Hall
  • Evening Prayer at Westminster Abbey
  • the State Banquet at Lancaster House

on Saturday, 18th September

  • the Celebration of Mass at Westminster Cathedral
  • the Pastoral Visit to St Peter's Residence, Vauxhall
  • the Vigil of Prayer at Hyde Park (during which he welcomes Pope Benedict to the Vigil)

on Sunday, 19th September

  • the Beatification Mass at Cofton Park, Birmingham
  • the Meeting of the Bishops of England, Wales and Scotland with the Holy Father at Oscott College, Birmingham.

The Auxiliary Bishops will attend some of these events.


14,000 Southwark pilgrims receive pilgrim passes ...

... to Hyde Park

Nearly 12,200 pilgrims from the Southwark diocese have been sent their Pilgrim Packs and Passes for the Vigil of Prayer with the Holy Father at Hyde Park on Saturday, 18th September. It is expected that this number will increase as the diocesan colleges and schools take up their allocations.

Pilgrims are asked to gather in the arena by 2:00 pm. There will be a programme of dance, mime and movement until 4:00 pm when there will be a 1,200 strong procession of banners, representing the diverse geography, ministry, social outreach and vibrancy of the Catholic Church in England, Wales and Scotland.

The pilgrims will, no doubt, be in good voice for the hymns during the Entrance Procession. This will be followed by a presentation on 'the heart of the Church' - 'A heart that sees ... serves ... seeks justice ... and understands'. reflecting on Cardinal Newman's motto: 'Heart speaks unto heart'.

Pope Benedict will arrive at 6:30 pm in the Popemobile. He will be welcomed by Archbishop Peter and lead Evening Prayer, which will include a Liturgy of the Word, a homily by the Holy Father, Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction.

The Vigil is expected to end by 9:00 pm.

The full Vigil is included in the Magnificat booklet on page 231 Cofton Park, Birmingham

And just a few hours later, 40 coaches from around the Southwark diocese will be leaving taking nearly 2000 pilgrims to Cofton Park, Birmingham, for the Mass of Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman on Sunday 19th September. Coach departure times vary between midnight and 2:45 am.

The Beatification Mass will be at 10:00 am. At the end of the Mass, the Holy Father will deliver his weekly Angelus address and pray the Angelus with those present and all who are participating through television, radio or the internet.

The full Beatification Mass is in the Magnificat booklet on page 264 


Places in Southwark associated with the visit

The Apostolic Nunciature

Although there are no major public events within our diocese, there will still be chances to welcome the Holy Father as he travels to various places on his itinerary.

He will be staying at the Apostolic Nuciature overlooking Wimbledon Common for the duration of his visit, where the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz, will be his host.




Lambeth Palace

At 4:00 pm on Friday, 17th September, the Holy Father will visit Lambeth Palace, the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

There, together with the Catholic bishops, he will meet with the Anglican bishops of England and Wales.

Stephen Langton is thought to have been the first Archbishop to have lived there in the thirteenth century.


Further details on the Papal Visit Official Web site

Saint Peter's Residence

At 5:00 pm on Saturday, 18th September, the Holy Father will visit Saint Peter's Residence in Vauxhall.

St Peter's Residence is a residential home for the elderly run by the Little Sisters of the Poor.

The Little Sisters of the Poor, founded by St Jeanne Jugan in 1839, came to England in 1851 and moved to their present site in Meadow Road in 1863.

They also run a day centre there.


Further details on the Papal Visit Official Web site 


And a tenuous link with the Raphael tapestries on loan to the V&A ...

In 1515, when Raphael was at the height of his fame, Pope Leo X commissioned him to prepare designs (cartoons) for a series of ten tapestries to hang in the Sistine Chapel. The tapestries were to be scenes from the lives of St Peter and St Paul. The cartoons were sent to Brussels where the tapestries were woven in wool, silk and gilt-metal thread. They were cut into strips and the tapestries woven from the rear making the tapestries mirror images of the cartoons.

The Vatican Museums have loaned four of these tapestries to the Victoria and Albert Museum as an accompaniment to mark the visit to Britain by Pope Benedict XVI. For the first time they are exhibited together with the cartoons which are in the Royal Collection.

In 1623, the cartoons were acquired by Charles I, while the Prince of Wales, who wished to have his own set woven in the Thames-side tapestry workshops in Mortlake. The Flemish tapestries are considered to have greater vivacity than the Mortlake tapestry of the Miraculous Draught of Fishes (also in the exhibition) from 100 years later.

Photo: Tapestry of the Miraculous Draught of Fishes © Vatican Museums

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