On Tuesday, 4th July, a Mass of welcome for His Excellency Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, Nuncio to Great Britain, was celebrated at Westminster Cathedral.
His Cardinal Vincent was the principal celebrant, along with Cardinal Cormac over 20 Archbishops and Bishops from dioceses across England and Wales, the Metropolitan Chapter of Canons, and several priests.
At the beginning of Mass, Fr Chris Thomas, General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference, welcomed the Nuncio on behalf of the Bishops of England and Wales, and Canon Michael Brockie, Provost of the Chapter, welcomed the Nuncio to Westminster Cathedral.
Alluding to the Nuncio’s nationality, Cardinal Nichols began his homily with a reference to the American celebration of Independence Day, thanking Abp Adams for being present on this day ‘which must have a special place in your heart’.
Reflecting on this theme of independence, the Cardinal explained that it ‘is a great yearning of every human being: that ability, space, resources and moral support to pursue a destiny and a way of life that corresponds to the person’s self-understanding and vision’.
He cautioned that an independence which focuses only on individual aspirations ‘can push a person into an individualism that becomes blind to the reality of the inter-dependence that is part of our human nature’. In contrast, he said, the independence being celebrated on this day ‘marks the fashioning of a way of life, which sought to respect in a new way both conscience and the sacrifices required of a greater identity’.
Pope Francis, he added, ‘embodies, in his ministry to the Holy See, that bond of Catholic faith, which circles the world’ and is a ‘powerful sign’ of the ‘inter-dependence of our human family’.
This inter-dependence, he explained, ‘is rooted in a far greater bond of dependence’ on Jesus, who is ‘the true foundation of our lives, the one on whom we place our trust, on whom we depend, from whom we seek no independence’.
Recalling too the words of Pope Benedict placing his trust in the Lord who is always present, the Cardinal affirmed that it was a ‘declaration of dependence, which far outshines all claims of independence because it is the road to our true fulfilment, our true freedom’.
Adding that ‘we live in a blessed time in the life of the Church when we have been guided, strengthened, sustained by great Popes’, he welcomed ‘most warmly our Apostolic Nuncio, who in his person brings us close to Pope Francis in his fatherly care for all the churches’ and assured him of cooperation and prayers.
Abp Adams was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain by Pope Francis on 8th April.
Photo: Cardinal Vincent with the Apostolic Nuncio and the Bishops of England and Wales