Pope Benedict XVI will visit England and Scotland on a four-day Papal visit from 16-19 September 2010. The Holy Father will fly to Scotland where he will be received at the Palace of Holyroodhouse by Her Majesty The Queen. He will also celebrate a public Mass in Glasgow. In England, amongst other things, His Holiness will make a speech to British civil society at Westminster Hall, meet with the leaders of other Christian traditions, take part in a service of Evening Prayer with the Archbishop of Canterbury, lead a prayer vigil and beatify the nineteenth century theologian and educationalist Cardinal John Henry Newman. Full details of arrangements for the visit can be found on the offical website: www.thepapalvisit.org.uk
The theme for the visit to the UK is ‘Cor ad cor loquitur’ – Heart speaks unto heart. Cardinal John Henry Newman chose the words as the motto to go on his coat of arms. Heart speaks unto heart is a fitting choice as, on the final day of his Apostolic Journey, the Holy Father will beatify Cardinal Newman – the much-loved Victorian theologian. The phrase has different levels of meaning which together tell us a lot about Newman, his understanding of what it is to be human, and his vision of a humanity redeemed by Christ. Newman thought that true communication between us speaks from our heart to the heart of others around us. In the age of the Internet, Newman tells us that however we communicate, what we say should come from the heart, the fruits of a moral life lived in communion with Christ.
The Papal Visit presents every Catholic school and parish with an opportunity to grow in, and witness to, the joy of following Jesus Christ. During these months of preparation we are encouraged to prepare by making time to pray for the Pope and for the success of the visit, through study of the writings of His Holiness and reflecting on how we can invite others to join the celebrations. Resources are being provided to help children and young people in particular to become acquainted with Pope Benedict XVI, who he is, what he teaches and how we can participate in his visit to the UK. The visit could provide unique experiences which can be explored as opportunities for learning across various curriculum areas. Read more about the resources already provided on the SCES website.
It is hoped that much of the UK population can participate in aspects of the Papal Visit in various ways. Materials are being provided to support prayer, reflection and learning, in advance of the visit. Given that many of the events are likely be televised and broadcast via the Internet, it should be possible to view the events and to participate by listening and responding, even from a distance. While the complexities of organising invitations to the outdoor events – such as the Mass in Glasgow – are significant, it is hoped to provide schools and parishes with details of arrangements as soon as possible so that they can make plans accordingly. Your patience is appreciated.
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.