For highlights of the Papal visit which took place on 16th - 19th September 2010 follow the linkPope Benedict XVI in the United Kingdom
Pope Benedict XVI in the United Kingdom
Bishops' Faith Stories from the Heart
Ahead of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom, nine Catholic bishops have recorded personal stories about their relationship with God to help people understand the theme of the Papal Visit.
On 16 September Pope Benedict will arrive in the UK on the first ever state visit of a Pope to these lands. During his stay he will address people across the nation from all walks of life and meet with Her Majesty The Queen, Government officials, other Christian and religious leaders, as well as members of the Catholic community. The theme of his Visit is ‘Heart speaks unto heart’ which was the motto of the soon-to-be beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman.
The bishops share a variety of experiences including a moment when faith was tested during a visit to the Holy Land, the impact of a mother’s death and what it felt like during a period of "all-time low" - articulating in detail feelings of anger and resentment. The nine recordings offer powerful, honest and faith-filled stories of faith.
Bishop Kieran Conry is Chair of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis. He recalled an experience that he had in the catacombs of Rome. He said: "One of the reasons that the Pope is coming to our countries is to remind people that God loves them and is forgiving. The video stories of the bishops aim to illustrate that reality, that truth, through the sharing of real life experiences of God speaking to our hearts. Of course, God doesn’t just speak to bishops in the inmost depths of their hearts. The Lord is there for everyone if we only have the eyes to see and the ears to hear."
Most Rev Patrick Kelly
Archbishop of Liverpool
Archbishop Kelly shared an experience he had during a visit to the Holy Land: "For me it was a time when my convictions about that central fact on which my whole way of life as a disciple of Jesus is based were put to the test."
Right Rev John Arnold
Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster
Sharing what he felt being with his mother as she died: "God was present when he invited her to himself and he left me with that reassurance that she’s always listening and that she’s always someone that I can speak to and that we are held in His hands."
Rt Rev Kieran Conry
Bishop of Arundel and Brighton
Remembering a visit to the catacombs in Rome: "We went down under the ground. Walked through the tunnels... then we had Mass and as we stood there in this tiny little chapel with the graves of some of the early popes around us... we came to the words in the Mass where we remember all those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith and a number of people were moved to tears when they looked around and thought: 'There are thousands of those people here now.' ... It was a profoundly moving experience... it reminded me that I’m part of a great big long story."
Rt Rev Seamus Cunningham
Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle
The Bishop recalls being appointed as Spiritual Director to the seminary: "I must say that this came to me as a great shock and surprise and I felt completely inadequate and I felt very low, very down in myself. I remember going back to Ireland and my mother said to me... 'It’s a great honour.' My reply was, 'It’s an honour I could do without.'"
Rt Rev Edwin Regan
Bishop of Wrexham
The natural world spoke powerfully to him: "I was 15 years of age and working as a paper boy before going to school and I was at a period in my life when I was wondering, 'Is there a God or not, is what the grown-ups told me, is it absolutely true?' or those kind of questions... I was on the paper round and it was a beautiful morning and I just stood at the end of the street and looked up at the sky, it was just full of stars..."