Thursday, May 21, 2009

At Your Service: Mass of Installation of the 11th Archbishop of Westminster

From the London Times-

On the stroke of 12, the West Door swings open, and for the first time, Vincent Gerard Nichols, soon to be installed as the 11th Archbishop of Westminster enters his Cathedral.

Small in size though large in numbers, Westminster is home to more than 400,000 of the estimated four and half million Catholics in England and Wales. Many are recent migrants from other parts of the Catholic world: amongst others the Philippines, Poland and Brasil. Their diversity is reflected among the 2,200 worshippers crammed today into the spacious neo-Byzantine Cathedral, to see Nichols formally installed as Archbishop.

While not the precise equivalent to the Archbishop of Canterbury in terms of leadership – the leader of England and Wales’s Roman Catholics is technically the President of the Bishops’ Conference, a title already bestowed upon Nichols – the Archbishop of Westminster is usually made a Cardinal and will often give the Roman Catholic view on matters of national import. This is reflected in the greeting given him by Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

“The Roman Catholic and Anglican communities in England and Wales have the God-given task… of making the Good News of Jesus compelling and attractive to a generation deeply in need of hope,” he says.

For inspiration, the new Archbishop has turned to St Paul, who illustrates, he explains in a homily delivered from a stone pulpit bedded in lilies, the “true nature of belief in God.”

“Paul was open to the things of God, ready to recognise the touch of the divine in the unexpected.” “Faith in God,” he explains “is not a narrowing of the human mind” but “precisely the opposite.”

He puts forth, in a few brief paragraphs, a blueprint for Faith’s place in the public square, drawing on St Paul’s attempts to evangelise the Greeks.

Much more-

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