Following the Bastille Day attack in Nice, Masses at the Church of Notre Dame de France in Leicester Square were offered for the victims of the atrocity and for peace. Bishop Nicholas visited the parish on Saturday, to offer the Vigil Mass and be with the French community in this time of mourning.
He touched many hearts with the opening words of his homily when he said he had wept on Friday morning when he heard the news of the atrocity. Thinking specifically of the children who were killed, he likened the attack to the Massacre of the Innocents, and reassured the community that 'Jesus wept too' and that 'God weeps with us'.
Referring to the first reading of the Mass, the visit of the three men to Abraham at the oak of Mamre, Bishop Nicholas said that 'this beautiful story' is a visit 'not of three men but of God himself appearing to Abraham, our father in faith'.
This visit is, he continued, 'memorably captured in that striking icon by Rublev with which we are all so familiar, of three angelic figures gathered round an altar, three figures whom we know to be the Trinity itself'. The Rublev icon was at the centre of a memorial display and the focus of prayer in the church over the weekend.
Bishop Nicholas remarked on the fact that 'it is to Abraham that we hear today of God appearing: Abraham to whom God promised to give descendants as many as the stars of heaven; Abraham from whom Jews, Moslems and Christians all rightly claim descent'.
'This in itself should serve to make us all the more determined for peace among religions,' he said.
Over the weekend, the church was the focus of mourning and remembrance for the French community and all who wished to pray for the victims of the Nice attack.
The full text of Bishop Nicholas' homily can be read here.