Hyde Park Vigil
Those who were in the choir at Hyde Park managed to get a very different view of proceedings! These are some of Ethel's photos.
There was of course a massive wave of enthusiasm when the Holy Father arrived. Lots of cheering and flag waving and shouts of support. But when the Holy Father addressed us there was a silent attentiveness. Then the Blessed Sacrament arrived and the Catholic instinct kicked in: no-one had to say anything, no announcement had to be made - the crowd of 80 000+ just quietly and reverently sank to its knees. Here, close to the place where so many Catholics were martyred (Tyburn, near Hyde Park Corner), the Successor of Peter was leading the Catholic faithful in adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. It was an incredible moment!
Beatification Mass in Birmingham
There was not much opportunity for sleep on Saturday night, as we had to set off for Birmingham at 1.30am! We grumbled a bit, but put up with it. When the day was over, someone said how grumpy they had been the night before, but how well worth it it all was. So true.
On our arrival we were stopped by a BBC Midlands Radio roving reporter, who interviewed a few of us. Keith and Ashley Stanfield were recently married, with Keith's by now legendary proposal to Ashley in the Sistine Chapel, Ashley told listeners the circle was complete because Keith had brought her to a Papal Mass just after their honeymoon!
The group found a spot - with a very good view, nice and close to the stage, and settled in. Some tried to catch up on some sleep in the many hours of waiting at Cofton Park. It rained a bit, which did not make things any better, but rain was certainly NOT going to dampen enthusiasm!!!
Having arrived so early, we got glimpses of the sanctuary podium in different hues. This is a lovely sequence of photos showing the progress from dark to light:
As at Hyde Park there was a wave of warmth and enthusiasm for the Holy Father when he arrived:
Part of every Beatification ceremony is the unveiling of the portrait of the new Blessed. At Cofton Park the unveiling was of an electronic image - certainly a novel approach!
Fr Peter and Fr Joe concelebrated the Mass. But pride of place has to go to our sacristan at Newman House, Marcin Lubowiecki, (second from right in the group photo below) who received Holy Communion from the Holy Father himself. You can see the moment on the big screen in the photo below.
Finally the Holy Father departed, and we got ready to set off back home.
Goodbye Holy Father! Thank you for visiting us! Please come again soon!