Papal Visit 2010: Heart Speaks Unto Heart
Papal Visit 2010; Heart Speaks unto Heart.
On Saturday18th September, 22 past and present students of St. Mary’s took part in a pilgrimage to Hyde Park London to be part of the Papal prayer vigil. We were part of a crowd of tens of thousands of people that had gathered for the service on the eve of the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman.
Some present students that were part of the pilgrimage have written a very detailed account of the event…
The Papal Visit 2010
On Saturday 18th August 2010, we (Bryony Reed & Jess Crooks) went to the Hyde Park Prayer Vigil along with 20 other members of our school, present and past pupils.
We set off from Our Lady’s church at 7:30am in the morning, not quite knowing what to expect but extremely excited nevertheless, it was freezing cold that morning and everyone was really looking forward to finally getting on a warm coach. Much to our surprise the coach was warm, too warm, in fact there was a problem with the heating and within the first half an hour we had pulled over and were piling off the coach to cool down!
At this point we were getting into the spirit of things and stood by the side of the road waving our arms around chanting ‘POPE’ when cars went past, to which we got a really good response, tooting horns and exaggerated waves!
When we arrived in London the sun was shining and the skies were clear and we could tell immediately that it was going to be hot, whereas all the weathermen had been forecasting rain and our mothers packing us off with cagoules and wellington boots! We all marched our way down to Hyde Park with Lauren the Chaplain leading the way and Mr. McAleer bringing up the rear. After a much needed quick lunch break at KFC and a group debate on whether to take the tube the rest of the way or walk, we walked through Knightsbridge and gazed longingly through the posh shop windows, Georgio Armani, Louis Vuitton, Harrods, Topshop – but we hurriedly got rushed along by the crowds.
Finally, we arrived just outside Hyde Park where we gathered in a circle and made sure we all had our ‘Heart Speaks unto Heart’ t-shirts on, and we all said a prayer. We thanked the Lord for bringing us all to Hyde Park safely and asked for his blessing for the rest of the day.
We then set up camp for half an hour and distributed our tickets and wristbands, we even attempted making a human pyramid, which, might we add, was nearly perfect!
We had our group photo and then quickly made our way up to the entrance to Hyde Park.
We all got more and more excited and we moved along as we could see the signs for the entrance getting closer and closer, before we knew it we were face to face with a huge crowd of people all queuing up to get into Hyde Park, all there for the same reason, to see The Pope.
Knowing that all these people were there for the same reason and beliefs as us was quite humbling to see; it was almost like we were already friends with everyone there and immediately we felt comfortable around everyone.
After getting through security, we all gathered around looking for Mr.McAleer who decided to run off and buy some Pope merchandise, when he finally joined us again we all power walked down as close to the stage as we could (which believe it or not, we were very close to, if we looked behind us there was a huge sea of people going right down to the end of Hyde Park).
We laid out our picnic blankets and then, we waited.
After about 45 minutes, Carol Vordeman popped up on the stage with a man who we didn’t recognise, and began to present the entertainment this varied from Irish Dancing, to drama productions, gospel choirs and interpretative dances! After standing and sitting down for quite a while, we decided (Jess, Amy, Tara and Bryony) to have a wonder around to stretch our leg, which was when we bumped into Father Augustine and Brother Seraphim, two Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, from Bradford. Jess and I immediately recognised them as we had met them last year at the Catholic Conference that took place at St. Mary’s High School. We spoke to them briefly, they were in the V.I.P section, which meant they had allocated seats and didn’t have to sit on the ground like we did!
After hours and hours of waiting the time came for The Pope’s arrival into Hyde Park, the atmosphere at this point was utterly electric and it was hard not to join in with the singing and praising!
They we watched as all the flags and banners were paraded and we all sang along as loud as we could to the hymns and songs trying our hardest to be put on the big screens, which never seemed to happen much to our disappointment.
After another hour or so the big television screens began to show footage of the Pope’s Pope mobile making its way through London and into Hyde Park, there was an aura of anticipation throughout the whole Park as everyone waited patiently. You could hear the helicopter that was filming Him from above, making the suspense grow even more.
At this point everyone was standing up and waving flags, chanting and singing, it was amazing to see.
And then The Pope arrived. There were roars of cheering, everyone were on their feet showing their love and admiration towards him, we had all stood up and were chanting ; waving our flags as high as we could. I (Bryony) rang my Mum and held my phone for what felt like the shortest 15 minutes ever, as the Pope drove past waving. It was an awe inspiring moment, one of which we were incredibly lucky to witness.
We couldn’t quite believe our eyes, after getting up at 5:45am, sitting on a coach for 3 + hours, walking for an hour and 45 minutes to Hyde Park and sitting and waiting for what felt eternity, the man who we had come to see was finally there, right in front of us. It was at that point that the crowd fell silent and began to take in the historical event that was unfolding in front of them. Everyone in Hyde Park went from being overly excited and shouting to being calm and respectful. We listened to the Pope inspirational talk that he addressed to the young people, and invited them to World Youth Day 2012; this had a roaring response as all the young people in the park cheered! Everyone then took part in Silent Adoration where we knelt before the Blessed Sacrament and reflected on the day’s events, and also took part in the concluding prayer vigil.
Our day at Hyde Park was one that we will remember for the rest of our lives; it is amazing to think that we got the opportunity to see the Pope at such a young age. It was inspirational to see so many Christians all gathered in the same place, for the same reason and at the same time, each sharing in this wonderful event. We were very lucky to have such a nice journey there and back, the weather was lovely and we got to spend the day with our friends. The Prayer Vigil in Hyde Park with the Pope is a memory, that I’m sure, none of us will ever forget.