Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster has said the silence of 80,000 people praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament at Hyde Park was “something beyond words”.
The Archbishop said in a video reflection: “I can never forget that sense of 80-90,000 people in total silence in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in Hyde Park. It was something beyond words – the fruit of a lot of prayer and a moment of profound grace. It shows the beauty of holiness.”
He also said that “heart did speak to heart” during the four days of Pope Benedict XVI’s first visit to Britain.
Archbishop Nichols described as a privilege his own journey in the popemobile with the Pope though the streets of London, and feeling engulfed by the “wave of joy and happiness” that greeted the Pope.
The Archbishop, in particular, emphasised a sentence from the Pope’s speech at Westminster Cathedral. “He said to us: ‘Be witnesses to the beauty of holiness, the splendour of the truth and the joy and freedom born of a relationship with Christ’. That’s the sentence I suggest we ponder as a great gift from the Holy Father.”
Archbishop Nichols encouraged Catholics to learn how to talk about their faith through the example of the Holy Father. He asked them to be gentle and respectful in their dealings with others, especially those who do not share similar views, and admiring their achievements instead of pointing out errors.
He said that the Pope had drawn attention to the crucifix at Westminster Cathedral during his visit because that was where real joy and happiness came from.
He said: “Where does joy and happiness come from? Not because we are innocent, not because we are clever, but because we are forgiven.”
The Archbishop invited Catholics to be more confident in their faith. He said: “Let it show. Wish people ‘God Bless’ at the end of a conversation. Offer to pray for them – especially if they’re having a hard time, and don’t be afraid to use the signs of faith like a simple sign of the Cross at home at the beginning and end of the day with those you live with – those in your family.”