Monday, September 27, 2010
The Holy Father Visits
We had an absolutely marvellous time, along with the rest of the country, with the visit of Pope Benedict to the UK from 16-19 September 2010. Jesus asked Peter to feed his lock and confirm his brothers in the faith. How real was our experience of Pope Benedict fulfilling that Petrine ministry as he visited our country! As someone said as we returned from Hyde Park "Did not our hearts burn within us!" (Cf Luke 24:32)
We had special reason to rejoice, of course, because the Holy Father beatified our patron, John Henry Newman, as the high point of his visit.
First of all, we decked out Newman House in festive papal bunting, and hung portraits of the Holy Father and Cardinal Newman in our windows.
(Do click on the pics to make them bigger so you get a better idea! Poor old Newman House is looking rather shabby and delapidated it has to be admitted!)
Nicola Paine made an exquisite banner for us, depicting the coat of arms of Cardinal Newman. Our former senior student, Sean Larcom (who returned home to Australia the day after the Papal Visit), carried it in the Procession of Banners at the Hyde Park Vigil. That's him hob-nobbing with the bishops on the stage!
To give us a bit of a group identity, and help us easily to spot our own group in the massive crowd, we all wore quasi-Cardinal's hats with red tassles!
Hyde Park Vigil
So we set off from Newman House as a rather nice big group, led by the Papal flag. We were sure no-one else would have had the same idea heheheh. We got some interesting looks, but no negative vibes from people in the streets of Bloomsbury.
I spot a Chaplain, but where are the students?
Now, this is one of those Newman House peculiarities. This picture has Matthew in it, but it's actually a picture of Peregrine Pen-Gwyn. Peregrine "belongs" to Chris Castell, and seems to go EVERYWHERE. He has a life of his own. He has been to Hong Kong to visit Magdalene, he has been to student parties, to the theatre, on pilgrimage to Walsingham, he goes to Mass from time to time. He even has his own Facebook page!!!!! Go on, look him up! He also attended the Papal events in London.
Finally arrived at Hyde Park, we were able to stake out some territory, settle down, have a picnic, meet up with old and new friends ... and wait.
Some of our people were in the choir, and got a different view of proceedings. They also had to do huge amounts of work rehearsing. A few of them in the pic below. Hint: they are students, so they are the younger ones ;)