Saturday October 22 saw the Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham celebrating a Mass of Thanksgiving for the Beatification of John Paul II at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Bicester, followed by the blessing of the new John Paul II Centre next to the church.
Some 250 people gathered to thank God for Blessed Pope John Paul II and to invoke his intercession upon the mission of the John Paul II Centre as it seeks to promote the New Evangelisation in the town of Bicester. Members of civil society joined the congregation, including Mayor Councillor Rose Stratford and local MP Tony Baldry.
The theme of the New Evangelisation was keenly emphasised in Archbishop Longley’s homily and John Paul II was upheld as a shining example of the communicative impact of personal holiness, the hallmark of the New Evangelisation.
In this spirit of outreach, the archbishop expressed his hope that the John Paul II Centre would help to unite the parish with the wider community.