Aid to the Church in Need, the charity, has presented the Pope with a commemorative book containing the names of supporters who pledged the equivalent of more than six months of prayer for the Holy Father, writes John Newton.
Graham Hutton, a trustee of the charity, made the presentation to Pope Benedict XVI during an audience at the Apostolic Nunciature in Wimbledon on Friday September 17.
The book contained the names of 7,224 benefactors who had promised to pray for the Holy Father in the run-up to his visit to England and Scotland.
Mr Hutton said: “I was presented to the Holy Father, along with about 20 others, after his private morning Mass at the nunciature and before his visit to St Mary’s College, Twickenham.
“I was able to explain briefly what the book contained and to show a few pages of it to the Holy Father who smiled his beautiful smile and expressed his gratitude. It was a lovely and unforgettable experience to meet the Pope and to be able to assure him of the support and prayers of Aid to the Church in Need in our countries.”
Mr Hutton said he felt privileged to present the book on behalf of the charity’s supporters.
He said: “It was a great honour for me to be asked to present the book containing the names of all those benefactors who had been praying for the Holy Father over the last few months.”
ACN’s supporters promised to say 32,148 decades of the Rosary and spend the equivalent of 137 days in Eucharistic Adoration – as well as having 11,485 Masses offered for the Pontiff and his intentions.
Mr Hutton added: “I was greatly moved when I was first given the book as I could see how fervent our benefactors had been in their prayerful support for Pope Benedict and also to see how beautifully this had been recorded in the lovely book.”
The leather-bound book was hand-made by bookbinder and conservationist Dieter Räder of Blissett Bookbinders in Acton, west London. The German-born craftsman has been making and restoring books for more than 25 years. The names of those included in the book were divided into four main sections: England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
The title page for each country included a picture of its patron saint. The images of St Andrew, St David, St George and St Patrick came from stained glass windows in Holy Family Church, Sutton Green, Surrey, near to Aid to the Church in Need’s British office.
Also listed in a small section at the end were the names of 71 benefactors from overseas countries who had also promised their prayers.