VATICAN CITY, OCT. 13, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is expressing gratitude and affectionate greetings to the people who made his Sept. 16-19 visit to the United Kingdom a “success.”
The Pope stated this in a personal letter sent to Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, which was published Tuesday on the Papal visit Web site.
The Pontiff noted, “I am writing to thank you most sincerely for all that you and your brother bishops in England and Wales did to make my first official visit in the United Kingdom such a success.”
“Please extend my thanks to the civil and ecclesiastical authorities who worked so diligently to render my visit to England so fruitful,” he added.
The Holy Father asked in particular that the archbishop “convey my affectionate greeting to the people of London who welcomed me so warmly.”
Benedict XVI affirmed, “I am very conscious of the significance of the events of those days and the unprecedented opportunities afforded me, both by Her Majesty’s government and by the Church of England, to build new relationships and to strengthen existing ones, including with representatives of other religions.”
He added that “it was particularly moving for me personally to preside at the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman.”
The Pope expressed his gratitude for the prelate’s hospitality at Westminster “and for the welcome afforded me by the faithful of London, especially the young people and the elderly.”
He concluded, “Invoking the intercession of St. George and St. David, patrons of England and Wales, I willingly impart to you and to the bishops, clergy, religious and lay faithful in England and Wales my apostolic blessing as a pledge of grace and peace.”