2011-09-15 12:36:03

Touching hearts and minds

One year ago this week, Pope Benedict was greeted by Queen Elizabeth at the start of his historic state visit to England and Scotland, a 4 day visit that culminated with the beatification of the 19th century Cardinal John Henry Newman, a prominent Anglican churchman who converted to Catholicism. Other key moments of the papal visit last September were a prayer vigil with young people in London’s Hyde Park and the Pope’s address to Britain’s political movers and shakers in the Hall of Westminster.

So how does the local Church view the impact of that historic papal visit, 12 months later? Susy Hodges spoke to Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton in southern England, Chair of the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis. He said one of the main benefits of the papal visit to Britain was that it helped Catholics to be more confident in their faith and it "significantly changed peoples' perception of the Catholic Church generally." Bishop Conry said "there had been a suspicion or a feeling that the Church was being increasingly marginalised (in Britain) but I think the Pope's visit changed all that."

One of the hundreds of thousands of young Catholics who attended the prayer vigil with the pope in London’s Hyde Park last September was 21 year old Lucy Jenkinson who’s just graduated from university. She said seeing the pope in person and attending the vigil and the mass at Westminister Cathedral "was a really positive expereience" that helped her "consolidate" her faith and gave her "more confidence" to talk about it.

Listen to the full interviews with Bishop Kieran Conry and Lucy Jenkinson by Susy Hodges: RealAudioMP3

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