Digby Stuart


Crystal Palace

We were there


The twenty-fifth anniversary
of the visit of Pope John Paul II
to Great Britain

This was the thirteenth Pastoral Visit made by Pope John Paul II since his election as Pope
in October 1978 and yet it was a papal visit that nearly didn't happen.
The assassination attempt on the Pope in May 1981 left the visit in doubt
and the conflict between England and Argentina over the Falkland Islands almost caused its cancellation.
However, a diplomatic solution was found whereby the Pope would visit Argentina as well.
This he did from 10th - 13th June.

Perhaps you attended the Mass at Wembley Stadium 29th May,
or the National Youth Rally at Ninian Park in Cardiff on 2nd June. Or perhaps you were
one of the thousands who lined the route of his popemobile.

But the Pope was also greeted at four events within the Southwark diocese and stayed overnight
from 28th until 30th May at the Apostolic Nunciature overlooking Wimbledon Common.

These pages focus on the Southwark events.

The theme of the Pope's visit was the Seven Sacraments.

Here is his itinerary for the initial (southern) part of his visit.

Friday, 28th May 1982



Pope John Paul II lands at Gatwick Airport


Mass and Baptism at Westminster Cathedral


Meeting with the Queen at Buckingham Palace


Anointing of the Sick at St George’s Cathedral, Southwark


Meeting with the Bishops of England and Wales, Westminster


Overnight at the Apostolic Nunciature, Wimbledon
(recent photograph)


Saturday, 29th May 1982


Meeting with Religious at Digby Stuart College, Roehampton


“Celebration of Faith” at Canterbury Cathedral

Conversation with Church Leaders at Canterbury


Mass at Wembley Stadium


Overnight at the Apostolic Nunciature, Wimbledon
(recent photograph)


Sunday, 30th May 1982


Meeting with Polish Community at Crystal Palace


The text of all Pope John Paul II's homilies and addresses can be found on the Vatican website


A report of the whole visit can be found on the Catholic Church in England and Wales website


New website marking the 25th Anniversary of the Papal Visit produced by the Bishops' Conference




Return to Southwark Website Homepage