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Forty three pilgrims from St Richards and Our Lady's attended the largest rally of Pope Benedict's visit, at Hyde Park, joining 80,000 people.
The organisation was nationally planned and very rigorous. Martin and Mary prepared the parish data base and directions, issuing Pilgrims' passports, with tickets and purple wrist bands to ensure that every attender would be checked against the lists held at Hyde Park . Security was taken seriously at every venue. The pack included a dvd, the passport, a prayer booklet - 'Magnificat' covering each event, ticket, wristband, all with a carry bag in papal colours. These souvenirs will recollect this exciting day.
From Victoria, the party bussed and trekked up to Speaker's Corner, conscious that the notorious Tyburn gallows, where many Catholic martyrs died, once stood nearby.
Even at 2.15, with four hours to go, there were thousands inside
Michael and Clare were first on site, then Father Joe, with his friends, and Martin with St Richard's main party
Martin's group settled in for the long afternoon, with music and entertainment on continuous display.
The Stage was the magnet, but with 80,000 viewers crowding in, with their array of flags, little could be seen of the action there, However, an array of telecreens, serviced by a large outside broadcast team, gave the best views of the afternoon's events. Tv helicopters hovered overhead.
One of the well devised video presentations included a line of our hierarchy (including Cardinal Murphy O'Connor) on stage, greeting chosen school children and visitors. The excited anticipation of the Pope's visit never abated.
In front of them, parades of parish banners from all over England traversed the roads, proud to be there.
It was sunset, almost 7 p.m. before the Popemobile was shown arriving.
The excitement mounted, as the Pope drew near, almost forty five minutes later than planned. Handel's Messiah crashed out triumphantly on the loudspeakers
Flag waving and cheers of delight reached a crescendo as Pope Benedict took to the stage. His warmth and friendly message captivated us all. It was a vigil service, so our pilgrims went home, with Mass to be attended next day. Martin said our group found the event "most enjoyable, great to see so many young people involved, with the mix of nationalities and people from a great range of parishes from all over England."
The setting as shown by BBCtv