The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols has issued his first Pastoral Letter to the Diocese of Westminster since his installation as Archbishop of Westminster in May 2009.
The Pastoral Letter will be heard at parishes in the Diocese of Westminster over the weekend of 19 – 20 September 2009.
In the Pastoral Letter, Archbishop Vincent Nichols encourages Catholics to strengthen their faith through daily prayer, which he says is “central to the stability and fruitfulness of our lives.” He holds up three people as examples of the truth that “daily prayer is essential for our well-being.”
St Thérèse of Lisieux
The first is St Thérèse of Lisieux, whose relics will be in the Diocese of Westminster in October 2009. “She teaches us that prayer can indeed be part of our daily routine, knitted into the regular tasks of the day. Through her own prayer she came to understand that her vocation was to love,“ said Archbishop Vincent Nichols. He continued: “Many people find that, in her presence, their faith is strengthened, their prayer is deepened and they turn to God afresh, through repentance and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.”
Cardinal John Henry Newman
The second person is Cardinal John Henry Newman who is to be Beatified, most probably, in early summer 2010, the first English person to be recognised as a ‘Confessor of the Catholic Faith’ for over 600 years. “He came to recognise our faith as “a working religion”,” said Archbishop Nichols, “not concerned with ideas or vague generalities, but taking us up into the true worship of Christ himself. At the heart of Newman’s sense of the realism of our faith was the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, “as real”, he said “as we are real. We can learn from him to reawaken in ourselves this faith in Christ’s real, abiding presence in the Holy Eucharist, reserved in the Tabernacle.”
St John Vianney
The third person Archbishop Nichols holds up as an example is St John Vianney, the famous Curé of Ars, the patron saint of priests. “He too reminds us of the centrality of prayer and repentance in our lives, and of the astonishing gift we are given in the Real Presence of the Lord in our churches,” said Archbishop Vincent Nichols.
The relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux will be in the Parish Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Kensington Church Street, on Sunday 11 October 2009 and at Westminster Cathedral from 12 - 15 October 2009.