Pope to UK: Bear Witness to Gospel Truth

Sends Message for Anniversary of Trip to England, Scotland

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 21, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI sent his greetings to the Catholics of England and Scotland -- who celebrated the first anniversary of the his trip there -- encouraging them to be witnesses of the truth of the Gospel.

The Pope said this in a message sent via Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, his secretary of state, on the occasion of a national Mass of Thanksgiving that took place at London's Westminster Cathedral. The Mass, con-celebrated by the Bishops of England and Wales, marked the anniversary of the state visit, which took place Sept. 16-19, 2010.

In the message, the Holy Father sent his "cordial greetings," recalling "with deep gratitude the warmth of the welcome given."

Benedict XVI said he hoped the occasion would "serve as a renewed summons to take up the challenge [...] issued a year ago in this very place: to bear joyful witness to the truth of the Gospel, 'which liberates our minds and enlightens our efforts to live wisely and well, both as individuals and as members of society.'"

The Pope made special mention of those studying for the priesthood, encouraging them to keep their eyes "fixed on Jesus Christ, to devote themselves wholeheartedly to their intellectual and spiritual formation, and to be steadfast heralds of the new evangelization."

Clare Ward, the Home Mission Advisor for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, told ZENIT in an interview earlier this month that Benedict XVI's apostolic trip to the United Kingdom "has had a deep and very positive impact on the Catholic community in England and Wales."

"Many people have shared that they have felt renewed in their faith and in their Catholic identity," she added.

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-33485?l=english