The Catholic Herald held a lunchtime reception on Friday, September 10, on the eve of Pope Benedict’s visit to Britain.
The reception took place at the Friary, behind Westminster Cathedral, and the walls were hung with photographs of the Holy Father and portraits of Cardinal Newman in anticipation of the country’s first papal state visit.
Princess Michael of Kent was the guest of honour. Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster spent nearly an hour chatting to guests. Sir Rocco Forte, co-owner of the Herald, and his sister, Olga Polizzi, were present, as were Peter Sheppard, chairman of the Herald, and Andy Leisinger, managing director.
Many priests and religious were in attendance, among them Fr Antony Conlon, chaplain of the Oratory School near Reading, Fr Leo Chamberlain, Fr Tim Finigan, the blogger and parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen, Fr Julian Large of the London Oratory and Fr Anthony Symondson.
Writers, journalists and publishers were also present, including Piers Paul Read, Ben Glazebrook – who came with his wife, Sarah – and Robin Baird-Smith. Colin Brazier, who presented the coverage of the papal visit for Sky News, also attended.
Past editors of the Herald were represented by Deborah Jones, Cristina Odone, Gerard Noel and Stuart Reid. Other guests, among more than 100 others, included Fergal Martin of the Catholic Truth Society, Peter Sefton-Williams and Neville Kyrke-Smith of Aid to the Church in Need, Chris Bain of Cafod, and journalists Benedict Brogan, Harry Mount and David Twiston Davies. The blogger Paul Priest travelled from Northamptonshire for the event.
(Below: Dr James Le Fanu, Colin Brazier and Cristina Odone; Chris Bain and Luke Coppen; and Archbishop Vincent Nichols)