News from around the Archdiocese of Liverpool
LIVERPOOL CATHEDRAL CELEBRATING 50 YEARS
- A LOOK BACK AT OUR COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE
Forty years ago this month saw the visit of Pope John Paul II to this country and on Pentecost Sunday, 30 May 1982, to Liverpool and our two cathedrals.
More than 150,000 greeted Pope John Paul at Liverpool Airport in Speke. The crowd sang and attended an open-air Mass with Archbishop Derek Worlock before the first sight of the Papal helicopter and they roared with approval when the Holy Father appeared at the top of the helicopter steps.
He thanked the thousands of well-wishers for their welcome and added: ‘In my turn I greet you in the words of the risen Saviour – peace be with you.’
Before the Pope’s arrival, Archbishop Worlock had given one of the most moving sermons in his five years in Liverpool, when at the Mass at the airport he urged the 150,000 strong congregation to ‘show your love and deep faith’ to the Holy Father. ‘You will show him we stand firm for our faith’ he said.
In his greeting on his arrival at Speke, the Holy Father paid tribute to the many missionaries, priests, sisters, brothers and lay people, who sailed from our ports to play their part in building up the life of the Church in other lands saying, ‘These men and women are a sign of the vitality of the faith which you have received and cherished. And their going forth upon the sea is a symbol of the confidence and trust which Christ asks of all his disciples.’
He continued: ‘But perhaps your greatest heritage is found in all those who have struggled here to overcome the ills of society and to build up a common brotherhood. In this regard I am told that you have your own pioneer of charity, Father Nugent. It is only fitting that I should take this occasion to acknowledge the generosity for which Britain has long been known’.
A six-mile queue of young and old turned one afternoon in May into the city’s finest hour for the coming of the Pope to Liverpool. Hundreds of thousands poured from their homes to wait patiently for a glimpse of the Holy Father as he made his way through a fanfare of cheer and chant when at last he joined Archbishop Worlock and Cardinal Hume for the motorcade ride from the airport, many of them ran alongside his Popemobile on the pavements, triumphantly greeting him.
On arrival at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral, smiling and waving as he went, Pope John Paul II was met by Bishop David Sheppard and other Church leaders. He was clapped and clapped again by the enthusiastic and emotional crowd of around 3,500 who had waited to greet him.
Bishop Sheppard said in welcome, ‘Your Holiness, we welcome you in the name of the Lord to this Cathedral Church of Christ in Liverpool. We are pleased that you have come among us, and we who represent so many of the churches on Merseyside, give you our Christian greeting.’ The Pope replied: ‘Christ is our peace. He has reconciled us to God in one body by the cross. We meet in his name and share his peace. The peace of the Lord be with you.’
As he left the Anglican Cathedral the Pope blessed everyone, and then, in clear, perfect English, he said: ‘Thank you – very much.’
It was then that Pope John Paul caught his first glance of the roaring crowd which lay ahead on the ramp and steps of the Metropolitan Cathedral – ‘We love you Pope John Paul.’
Cheering crowds lined Hope Street as the Popemobile made its slow progress towards the Metropolitan Cathedral with the Pope blessing them as he travelled along.
On arrival he celebrated Mass for the Feast of Pentecost beginning his homily with the words. ‘As Pentecost Sunday draws to its close, we have come to this Church, the Cathedral Church of Christ the King, here in Liverpool, to celebrate the Holy Eucharist, the source and summit of Christian life and the Sacrament of unity and love.’
He continued, ‘Two years ago, the National Pastoral Congress gathered in this Cathedral to begin its work with a service of repentance and reconciliation. Those present prayed for healing and mercy, and for the grace to be faithful to God’s will. They asked for light and wisdom to guide their deliberations and to deepen their love for the Church. This evening we assemble around this same altar to give honour and glory to the Lord, to praise our God who is rich in mercy. We see the need for conversion and reconciliation. We too pray for understanding where there has been discord. We seek unity from the same Holy Spirit who grants various gifts to the faithful and different ministries to the Church.’
After the Mass he greeted thousands of cheering young people on the piazza outside the Cathedral referring to them as ‘a living Cathedral’. He then went to Archbishop’s House before leaving for Mass at Heaton Park, Manchester the following day where he was to ordain Thomas Neylon, now Bishop Tom Neylon, to the priesthood.
40 years ago
Your Holiness, we welcome you in the name of the Lord to this Cathedral Church of Christ in Liverpool