THE first anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI’s historic visit to Britain has been marked with celebrations and the re-introduction of Friday abstinence.
Roman Catholic bishops have also called on the RC community in the UK to play a full part in rebuilding communities and renewing the Church and society.
In a statement, they said: “We have re-established Friday abstinence as a common act of witness and of solidarity with those who are in need or suffer, and as an expression of our vocation to follow Christ.”
They urged Catholics to serve everyone in society: “Being a Catholic is a way of life, not a set of membership duties.”
The Prime Minister also issued a statement to mark the anniversary. He said that the landmark visit had “shared a powerful message with everyone in our country about the importance of compassion, tolerance, and justice”. Mr Cameron said that Pope Benedict’s message was particularly relevant today, in the wake of this summer’s riots.
The Archbishop of Canterbury said that he looked back on the visit with “abiding gratitude”. Dr Williams said: “The visit was a great gift for all the Christian communities of the United Kingdom, affirming their role in society.”
The RC Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Revd Vincent Nichols, in an anniversary mass at Westminster Cathedral, called on all Catholics to take up the Pope’s call to strive for holiness.