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Papal Visit 2010 live blog: Hyde Park

Welcome to our live blog of the Pope’s visit to Vauxhall, the Prayer Vigil in Hyde Park on the evening of Saturday, 18 September 2010 and the Protest the Pope march. We’ll be providing links to the most interesting content from around the web and providing up-to-the-minute coverage of what’s happening. Don’t forget to send us your own pictures, stories and video!

This live blog has now ended. Read below for a recap of events as they happened.

Recap: Westminster Cathedral
Recap: Central London
Recap: Twickenham live blog
Recap: Bellahouston live blog
Recap: Edinburgh live blog
Itinerary for the trip
Full Papal Visit 2010 coverage

20:22 Thank you for following the vigil on this live blog. We’re signing off now but hope to see you again tomorrow morning for the beatification of John Henry Newman.

20:21 The recessional programme begins with “But Thanks Be to God” by G. F. Handel: a vigorous end to a delightful celebration of the Catholic faith in the heart of London.

20:18 The choir sings “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” by John Rutter. The bishops of England and Wales are waving to the crowd as they leave the sanctuary. They look incredibly happy.

20:16 An explosion of applause as the vigil draws to an end. Lots of banners and flags are waving in the vast crowd.

20:09 The congregation sings “Tell out, my soul”, the hymn by Timothy Dudley-Smith, with great force. At the end, the Pope smiles with great contentment.

20:06 Benediction takes place. The Holy Father, wearing the humeral veil, ascends to the altar and lifts the monstrance above his head tracing a large cross.

20:05 The Holy Father prays: “May we who declare our faith in this fountain of love and mercy drink from it the water of everlasting life.”

20:04 All sing the Tantum Ergo, written by St Thomas Aquinas.

20:02 A young man reads the prayer attributed to St Francis of Assisi, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace”.

19:59 The congregation sings Cardinal Newman’s hymn, “Lead Kindly Light”. The Victorian theologian wrote the original poem in 1833 and called it “the Pillar of Cloud”.

19:53 Fr Dominic Howarth, chairman of CYMFed, reads Cardinal Newman’s prayer, “Radiating Christ”:

Dear Jesus, help us to spread your fragrance everywhere we go.

Flood our souls with your spirit and life.

Penetrate and possess our whole being so utterly that our lives may only be a radiance of yours.

Shine through us, and be so in us, that every soul we come
in contact with may feel your presence in our soul.

Let them look up and see no longer us but only Jesus!

Stay with us, and then we shall begin to shine as you shine;
so to shine as to be a light to others; the light O Jesus,
will be all from you, none of it will be ours;
it will be you, shining on others through us.

Let us thus praise you in the way you love best by
shining on those around us.

Let us preach you without preaching, not by words
but by our example, by the catching force, the
sympathetic influence of what we do.

The evident fullness of the love our hearts bear to you.


19:53 All sing “Be Still and Know that I am God”.

19:49 The congregation pray the Litany of the Sacred Heart.

19:41 The chant is now “Adoramus Te Domine”. The Monstrance is placed on the altar. The Holy Father prepares to cense the Monstrance and then kneels before the altar on a prie-dieu. He now leads the silent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the Body of Christ truly present in the form of the Eucharist.

19:35 After the homily, the Holy Father lights the Paschal Candle; the light is taken to the candles borne by parish representatives as the Blessed Sacrament procession begins. The song is “Lord Jesus Christ, your light shines within us”, a Taizé chant.

19:30 The Pope addresses young people. He urges them to “be open to His voice resounding in the depths of your heart”. He gives them an invitation:

Do not be afraid to give yourself totally to Jesus. He will give you the grace you need to fulfil your vocation. Let me finish these few words by warmly inviting you to join me next year in Madrid for World Youth Day. It is always a wonderful occasion to grow in love for Christ and to encouraged in a joyful life of faith along with thousands of other young people.

19:29 This is a beautiful, deeply spiritual and brave address. The 80,000-strong crowd is listening intently.

19:28 Benedict XVI moves on to this powerful passage:

Newman’s life also teaches us that passion for the truth, intellectual honesty and genuine conversion are costly. The truth sets that sets us free cannot be kept to ourselves; it calls for testimony, it begs to be hear, and in the end its convincing power comes from itself and not from the human eloquence or arguments in which it may be couched. Not far from here, at Tyburn, great numbers of our brothers and sisters died for the faith; the witness of their fidelity to the end was ever more powerful than the inspired words that so many of them spoke before surrendering everything to the Lord. In our own time, the price to be paid for fidelity to the Gospel is no longer being hanged, drawn and quartered but it often involves being dismissed out of hand, ridiculed or parodied. And yet, the Church cannot withdraw from the task of proclaiming Christ and his Gospel as saving truth, the source of our ultimate happiness as individuals and as the foundation of a just and humane society.

Finally, Newman teaches us that if we have accepted the truth of Christ and committed our lives to him, there can be no separation between what we believe and the way we live our lives. Our every thought, word and action must be directed to the glory of God and the spread of his Kingdom, Newman understood this, and was the great champion of the prophetic office of the Christian laity. He saw clearly that we do not so much accept the truth in a purely intellectual act as embrace it in a spiritual dynamic that penetrates to the core of our being. Truth is passed on not merely by formal teaching, important as that is, but also by the witness of lives lived in integrity, fidelity and holiness; those who live in and by the truth instinctively recognise what is false and precisely as false, inimical to the beauty and goodness which accompany the splendour of truth, veritatis splendor.

Tonight’s first reading is the magnificent prayer in which St Paul asks that we be granted to know ‘the love of Christ which surpasses all understanding’. The Apostle prays the Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith and that we may come to ‘grasp, with all the saints, the breadth and the length, the height and depth’ of that love. Through faith we come to see God’s word as a map for our steps and light for our path. Newman, like the countless saints who preceded him along the path of Christian discipleship, taught that the ‘kindly light’ of faith leads us to realise the truth about ourselves, our dignity as God’s children and the sublime destiny which awaits us in heaven. By letting the light of faith shine in our hearts, and by abiding in that light through our daily union with the Lord in prayer and participation in the life-giving sacraments of the Church, we ourselves become light to those around us; we exercise our ‘prophetic office’; often without even knowing it, we draw people one step closer to the Lord and his truth. Without the life of prayer, without the interior transformation which takes place through the grace of the sacraments, we cannot, in Newman’s words, ‘radiate Christ’; we become just another ‘clashing cymbal’ in a world filled with growing noise and confusion, filled with false paths leading only to heartbreak and illusion.

19:19 The Holy Father holds the Gospel aloft, then sits and puts on his reading glasses. He begins his address. He says:

My Brothers and Sisters in Christ, This is an evening of joy, of immense spiritual joy, for all of us. We are gathered here in prayerful vigil to prepare for tomorrow’s Mass, during which a great son of this nation. Cardinal John Henry Newman, will be declared Blessed. How many people, in England and throughout the world, have longed for this moment! It is also a great joy for me, personally, to share this experience with you. As you know, Newman has long been an important influence in my own life and thought, as he has been for so many people beyond these isles. The drama of Newman’s life invites us to examine our lives, to see them against the vast horizon of God’s plan and to grow in communion with the Church of every time and place: the Church of the apostles, the Church of the martyrs, the Church of the saints, the Church which Newman and to whose mission he devoted his entire life.

I thank Archbishop Peter Smith for his kind words of welcome in your name, and I am especially pleased to see the many young people who are present for this vigil. This evening, in context of our common prayer, I would like to reflect with you about a few aspects of Newman’s life which I consider very relevant to our lives as believers and to the life of the Church today.

Let me begin by recalling that Newman, by his own account, traced the course of his whole life back to a powerful experience of a conversion which he had as young man. It was an immediate experience of the truth of God’s word, of the objective reality of Christian revelation as handed down in the Church. This experience, at once religious and intellectual, who would inspire his vocation to be a minister of the Gospel, his discernment of the source of authoritative teaching in the Church of God and his zeal for the renewal of ecclesial life in fidelity to the apostolic tradition. At the end of his life, Newman would describe his life’s work as a struggle against the growing tendency to view religion as a purely private and subjective matter, a question of personal opinion. Here is the first lesson we can learn from his life: in our day, when an intellectual and moral relativism threatens to sap the very foundations of our society, Newman reminds us that, as men and women made in the image and likeness of God, we were created to know the truth, to find in that truth our ultimate freedom and the fulfilment of our deepest human aspirations. In a word, we are meant to know Christ, who is himself ‘the way, and the truth and the life’.

19:15 The reading is from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 5:1-22, 14-15 (the Beatitudes).

19:13 The Gospel Acclamation is by Christopher Walker.

19:10 A cantor leads the singing of Psalm 119. The response is “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

19:09 A reading from the letter of St Paul to the Ephesians 3:14-21.

19:07 Pope Benedict prays:

God of truth and love, your Son, Jesus Christ, stands as the light to all who seek you with a sincere heart. As we strive with your grace to be faithful in word and deed, may we reflect the kindly light of Christ and offer a witness of hope and peace to all.

19:03 Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark welcomes the Holy Father in a firm voice. “We have come from all over Britain to share this moment with you.” He talks about the death of those who were put to death for their faith nearby at Tyburn. He assures the Pope of the prayers of the faithful. “Thank you, Holy Father, for being with us this evening and leading us in this vigil of prayer.”

18:59 Benedict XVI is on the sanctuary. The congregation has just sung “Christ Be Beside Me” by James Quinn SJ.

18:56 The window is down again on the Popemobile so the Holy Father can wave to the young people who are giving him a rapturous reception. Ed West, our reporter on the ground, tells us:

He’s just passed us, about 10 metres away. Unbelievable excitement!

18:54 The Pope has arrived at the heart of the Hyde Park gathering. Handel is playing gloriously in the background.

18:52 Fr John Boyle tweets in appreciation of something Fr Christopher Jamison has said:

FatherJB Pope has no desire to perform but is the teaching Pope. Well said, Fr Jamison.

18:48 The Holy Father waves contentedly at the bystanders who are clutching cameras and mobile phones. He looks very calm and is smiling.

18:47 The Pope is now in Hyde Park. Crowds are running to keep up with him as the Popemobile makes its way along the wide path. There are three or four cars in front of the vehicle and a dozen behind.

18:42 The Popemobile just stopped and the window was wound down and the Pope stood up. He quickly stood back down again and the window closed. Not sure what happened there.

18:42 The Popemobile goes through the Wellington Arch. It was originally commissioned as an entrance for Buckingham Palace, then moved to its present location in 1882. The statue on top is the largest bronze sculpture in Europe.

18:39 The Pope has just reached Hyde Park Corner. Floriana Christie, aged six, has just seen the Pope. She tells us:

It was really fun because he went past in a funny sort of car and he was really nice.

18:36 The Popemobile is just rolling in front of Buckingham Palace. Her Majesty, of course, is at Balmoral.

18:34 Andrew M Brown tells us from Hyde Park:

Everyone is very excited and there is much flag-waving. The Holy Father will be here soon. There’s a real mixture of people, young and old, from all over the place.

18:29 The Popemobile rounds the corner on to the Mall, surrounded by six bodyguards. They are holding on to the vehicle and having to run quite quickly to keep up. The Mall looks lovely with the giant Union Flags and the Vatican City flags fluttering gently in the breeze. The crowds are running along the barriers to keep up with the Pope.

18:19 The Popemobile is driving along Horse Guards Road. The vehicle will soon turn on to the Mall. There is a lovely Indian summer light. The crowds are several people deep and warmly appreciative.

18:19 Benedict XVI is switching to the Popemobile in the beautiful circular forecourt between the Treasury and the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms. Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster is in the Popemobile with him.

18:16 At Hyde Park everyone is singing: “Love Divine All Loves Excelling” by John Wesley.

18:12 Our reporter Ed West tells us from Hyde Park:

The Mizens spoke about their murdered son, Jimmy. The crowd was stunned silent. It was heartbreaking. Then Mgr John Armitage, vicar general of the Diocese of Brentwood, talked about the living wage and the legacy of Cardinal Manning. He then asked everyone to send a message to world leaders to end poverty and injustice.

18:10 The Pope’s motorcade is running along the edge of the River Thames. At Hyde Park they have announced that there are 80,000 people present.

18:07 Pope Benedict was meeting people lining the streets in Southwark and is now finally leaving the Residence and to head to Hyde Park.

18:04 From the BBC Live blog

BBC Rome correspondent David Willey says the Pope is clearly touched by the reception at St Peter’s. He has learned to empathise and communicate much better on this visit, our correspondent adds.

17:51 Harry Mount writes about the nasty side of the Pope-protestors.

Then there was a really unpleasant scene. A lost priest asked a policeman how he might make his way to the prayer vigil in Hyde Park. One marcher teased him in a friendly enough way, beckoning him over to come and join the marchers. Another behaved disgustingly, screaming with real venom, “Freak”, “Freak”, at the poor lost stranger. Whether you’re religious, atheist or agnostic (as I am), it was unacceptable behaviour.

17:50 Oh, woops, we got it wrong. Pope Benedict hasn’t left Vauxhall yet. The sisters are lining the exit. He must have been visiting those three residents who were unable to come down.

17:45 In just now from Liz Dodd in the field:

Daniel, 19, and Anna, 18, are blown away by the number of young people here. Anna had worried she would be the only person here under-25, but now feels outnumbered by younger Catholics! Both hope to take the amazing sense of community home to youth groups in their parishes.

Aaron and Lucy, both 11, have been in the park since two. They’ve loved the dancing and the music and can’t wait for the Pope to arrive – they say they’re going to make a lot of noise!

Stephanie, who’s 10, has just got to Hyde Park. She’s really enjoying the music, but says she’s most excited about seeing the Pope!

Only an hour to go at Hyde Park and the arena is packed. Wonderful music from the choir on stage and some great moves from the Religious on stage greeting the young people. Atmosphere not unlike the rock festivals this area of Hyde Park normally hosts.

17:43 More from Ed West:

A former drug addict just spoke movingly about how the Cardinal Hume centre saved him from homelessness and addiction – got an enornous cheer from the crowd

17:42 From Ed West on the ground at Hyde Park: An asylum seeker from Malawi who has lived in Britain since 2003 was speaking on stage. The asylum seeker said that the love of the community has sustained them and the Church has supported them even after they were detained and threatened with being deported.

The asylum seeker says: “We feel so much closer to God. now I’ve been received into Catholic Church, God bless
you all”

17:40 From the Papal Visit Twitter stream comes this tweet:

Sarah, 6, london “this is much much better than coming to hyde park to walk the dog, its like a catholic party.”

17:32 Pope Benedict XVI has left St Peter’s Residence.

17:31 The Holy Father has blessed the residents in Latin, thanked them and said: “May the Lord be with you.”

17:30 He’s meeting Fr Augustine Hoey, a prominent convert from Anglicanism, other elderly priests in residence and now he is blessing someone in a wheelchair. It resembles a reception where the Holy Father is walking around the room informally.

17:28 Pope Benedict has presented the home with a mosaic of St Peter.
He’s going through the room, blessing all the elderly in the audience. Speaking to them, blessing them individually.

17:28 Wow! He says, he is there not just as a father but a brother. Shares the knowledge of old age.

In this sense, I come among you not only as a father, but also as a brother who knows well the joys and the struggles that come with age. Our long years of life afford us the opportuniuty to appreciate both the beauty of God’s greatest gift to us, the gift of life, as well as the fragility of the human spirit. Those of us who live many years are given a marvellous chance to deepen our awareness of the mystery of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity.

As the normal span of our lives increases, our physical capacities are often diminished; and yet these times may well be among the most spiritually fruitful years of our lives. These years are an opportunity to remember in affectionate prayer all those whom we have cherished in this life, and to place all that we have personally been and done before the mercy and tenderness of God. This will surely be a great spiritual comfort and enable us to discover anew his love and goodness all the days of our life.

May our blessed Lady and her spouse Saint Joseph intercede for our happiness in this life and obtain for us the blessing of a serene passage to the next.

17:27 The Pope is talking about the dignity of every human person and the suffering of age.

Life is a unique gift, at every stage from conception until natural death and it I God’s alone to give and take. One may enjoy good health in old age; but equally Christians should not be afraid to share in the suffering of Christ, if God wills that we struggle with infirmity.

My predecessor, the late Pope John Paul, suffered very publicly during the last years of his life. It was clear to all of us that he did so in union with the sufferings of our Saviour. His cheerfulness and forbearance as he faced his final days were a remarkable and moving example to all of us who have to carry the burden of advancing years.

17:26 Pope Benedict XVI:

The Fourth Commandment, ‘Honour your father and your mother as the Lord your God commanded you’ is linked to the promise, “that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you, in the land which the Lord your God gives you.’

This work of the Church for the infirm not only provides love and care for them, but is also rewarded by God with the blessing he promises on the land where this where this commandment is observed. God will a proper respect for the dignity and worth the health and well-being of the elderly and through her charitable institutions in Britain and beyond, the Church seeks to fulfil the Lord’s command to respect life, regardless of age or circumstances.

17:23Pope Benedict XVI is now addressing them.

As advances in medicine and other factors lead to increased longevity, it is important to recognise the presence of the growing numbers of older people as a blessing for society. Every generation can learn from the experience and wisdom of the generation that preceded it. Indeed the provision of care for the elderly should be considered not so much as an act of generosity as the repayment of a debt of gratitude.

17:20 Mrs Fasky, one of the residents: Welcome Holy Father.

17:18 Sr Marie Claire is speaking about St Jeanne Jugan who founded the Little Sisters of the Poor and was canonised last year.

17:16 He is being welcomed by Sr Marie Claire of Little Sisters of the Poor.

…You have come in the name of Jesus Christ and his Church to confirm us in our faith…

Some of the most vulnerable and most frail people in today’s society…You are underlining the real importance of caring for the elderly.

…Each day in St Peter’s and in our homes throughout the homes our residents and our sisters pray for your intentions and the needs of the Church…

17:15Reporting from Hyde Park, Ed West had four donuts and Andrew M Brown had one.

17:11 He’s now gone out of the chapel to visit people in their rooms because they are too sick to go to the chapel. And he will also accept a donation from 10 Catholic residential homes for missions abroad.

17:10 Pope Benedict was greeted by Archbishop Smith who said he was pleased with how his visit has been going. Now in the chapel, they are singing, ‘Praise to the Holiest in the Height’, by John Henry Newman
17:07 Archbishop Nichols has said he wants to make care of the elderly a major focus of the Church’s ministry in the next decades.

17:05 The Pope has arrived at the St Peter’s Residence and is being greeted by the sisters and the Mayor of Lambeth and Mgr Matthew Dickens the Vicar General of Southwark.

16.53 Benedict’s visit to the old people’s home run by the Little Sisters of the Poor is also significant within the context of British care of the elderly.

At the end of last year, Archbishop Vincent Nichols said that Britain was failing the elderly. He said:

“I would like to remind you of an old adage that the true value of a society is to be judged by the way in which it treats its elderly and those who are most vulnerable. I think that is a sobering thought, which gives the lie to claims that are sometimes made that we are a most well developed society.

“This is a measure of the challenge that we face, within the Church and within society, in which the experience of being aged, dependent and terminally ill is emptied of meaning and therefore of respect.”

16.50 They’re singing Shine, Jesus Shine at Hyde Park now

16.47 Cardinal Keith O’Brien and Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark are waiting at St Peter’s Residence Vauxhall for the Holy Father to arrive. He has been meeting with victims of clerical abuse in Wimbledon and is currently on his way.

16.45 Parishes are presenting banners on stage and shaking hands with English and Welsh bishops. An African choir is singing.

16.41 Andrew M Brown reports from Hyde Park:

It’s like a massive open-air pop concert. Lots of people have got picnic blankets and picnic chairs. They were singing One Body, One Bread. Like a rather ungroovy pop concert. Families, elderly folk, homemade banners that say: “Weybridge Welcomes the Pope” and “Holy Apostles, parish, Norwich: Ibi petrus ibi ecclesia.” Quite a few parish priests around, and children in school uniforms representing their school … Donuts, carvery, fish and chips, gourmet grill, upper crust – everything but no booze. People are drinking coffee and fizzy pop. Not the usual aromatic smell of cannabis that you’d expect at a pop concert.

16.35 Police unable to put a figure on the number of protesters, BBC News report. It seems like that 12,000 estimate earlier was a bit inflated.

16.32 BBC confirms Pope met five abuse victims. The meeting lasted 30-40 minutes – more time than the Pope gave the PM.

16.20 Report from Andrew M Brown: likely that the Popemobile will go THROUGH Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner.

16.16 More Twitter updates:

@Bordeaux8 Procession still going on as pilgrims have stopped to shake hands of bishops

FrabjousDays: Amazing atmosphere. Glastonbury with God.

16.15 We’ve just heard: Nick Clegg spoke to the Pope in German.

16.13 Andrew M Brown, Catholic Herald writer and Telegraph blogger, is on his way to Hyde Park to cover the vigil for us. He says that already there are substantial crowds in the front of Buckingham Palace, all along the Mall, and through Green Park.

The Popemobile is expected to go by on its way to Hyde Park, probably at about 6pm, in almost two hours.

16.07 Hyde Park schedule:

16.00-17.00 Part Two Procession of diocesan youth, parish representatives and representatives from Catholic charities and organisations.
17.00-17.50 Part Three A presentation on the Heart of the Church
17.50- 18.15 Part Four Build up to the arrival of the Holy Father
18.15-19.45 Part Five Vigil Liturgy
19.45-20.15 Part Six A “Soft Close” with musical accompaniment.

16.05 Update from James Bradley at Hyde Park: Atmosphere is wonderful. The bishops have just been greeted with a splendid fanfare and a long procession of banners has begun.

15.55 Here is a line-up of the presenters, plus short biographies:

Carol Vorderman

Carol grew up in North Wales where she went to Ysgol Mair Roman Catholic Primary School during the 1960s and Blessed Edward Jones High School in the 1970s. Carol read Engineering at the University of Cambridge, graduating at the age of 20. She is best known for co-hosting Countdown from 1982 to 2008 and her love of mathematics continues. Carol became one of the most successful women on British television for many years, hosting shows on all the major channels. She has also written many books about maths and Sudoku, and was the second most successful female author of the last decade selling millions of non-fiction books during that period. Carol looks after her mother Jean and has two children Katie, age 18, and Cameron, age 13. Her current passion is running her own internet maths school known as which offers online learning and practice for children from age 4 to 12.

Frank Cottrell-Boyce

Frank Cottrell-Boyce was born and bred in Liverpool. He was educated by the De La Salle Brothers at West Park School in St Helens and studied English at Keble College in Oxford. Since graduation he has worked as a full time scriptwriter. His film credits include Welcome to Sarajevo which starred Hollywood actor Woody Harrelson and Oscar nominated Hilary and Jackie starring Emily Watson. He also wrote the script for the highly acclaimed BBC drama God on Trial in which a group of prisoners explore the presence of God in Auschwitz. Frank is a regular presenter of Pick of the Week on BBC Radio Four. As a children’s novelist his book Millions won the Carnegie Medal and was filmed by Danny Boyce. He is married to Denise and they have seven children.

Barry and Margaret Mizen

Following the tragic murder of their son Jimmy in May 2008, they were determined that, with God’s grace, some good could come of the loss of their child. This led them to work with and talk in schools and prisons with a message of peace. They feel honoured to be asked to contribute to the Prayer Vigil at Hyde Park.

The Priests

Frs Eugene O Hagan, Martin O Hagan and David Delargy are The Priests. From N Ireland, they were all ordained over 20 years ago. They have been friends and singing together for over 30 years. They were discovered by a music company scout in 2008 and since then, have sold three million albums, and when their parish duties have allowed, have travelled the world performing their sacred music from Sydney, to Sweden to Spain. They sang for His Holiness, John Paul II, and more recently, Her Majesty The Queen and the President of Ireland, Mary Robinson.

Liam McNally

Britain’s Got Talent star, Liam McNally (14), will be opening the programme for the Prayer Vigil. McNally got to the final of Britain’s Got Talent (BGT) watched by 15.4million people and then went on the BGT Tour where McNally played 24 arena shows across the UK including two Wembley Arenas and two O2 Arenas. One of the hymns Liam will be singing “Our Father” is available for charity download from

People sharing their story on stage:

Declan Stokle is a 17-year-old student from Newcastle, currently studying for his A-levels. Declan will be available for interview on how his Catholic faith has inspired him to speak up for those suffering injustice in the world. Declan and his family have campaigned for several years on the human rights situation in Burma. He is speaking at the Hyde Park vigil about his experiences of visiting Burma and coaching football to youngsters there.

Julia Houlston-Clark works as a prison chaplain in Cardiff specialising in restorative justice and is speaking at the vigil about her experiences. Julia will be available for interview about her work, the challenges of giving victims a voice, and helping offenders face up to the harm they have caused through meeting those affected by crime.

Mgr John Armitage who will invite the crowd to “Stand up for Poverty” and speak about how Cardinal Manning and his experience in the East End of London, working with some of the poorest workers in the 19th century, led to the development of Catholic Social Teaching.

Israel Oyelumade is an actor and will be performing the Beatitudes.

15.50 More updates on Twitter:

ukcatholics Yes, a concert atmosphere but also see queues of young ppl for confessions. Plenty of priests in purple stoles.

RC Westminster Feels like a gig here – full celebration mode.

15:37 Pilgrims are arriving at Hyde Park already, hours before the start of the vigil. Here are quotes from Twitter to capture the atmosphere:

@Bordeaux8 Sitting down in golden circle. Feeling very special. Crowd is huge. Many flags.

ukcatholics Hyde park is buzzing! Lots of young happy excited chatter. God bless our pope!

RCWestminster Just arriving at Hyde Park now – it is just a sea of yellow!

thepapalvisit Such a wonderful mix of people at Hyde Park! The Church is alive, the Church is young!

JKeen14 Wonderful atmosphere building in Hyde Park for Pope’s vigil later tonight. So glad to be here with the rest of my family.

15.25 Police estimate 12,000 people at the protest against the Pope. Ed West, features editor at The Catholic Herald, is there:

Three guys are standing on the side of the procession with a Vatican flag: a tiny but noble counter protest… Everyone has started booing them… Someone has grabbed their flag and now everyone is cheering… One of the leaders of the march has gone up to them and apologised…