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Apostolic Nuncio makes historic visit to Royal Navy

The Apostolic Nuncio pictured with the congregation after morning prayers at St Ann’s Royal Naval Dockyard Church

Archbishop Antonio Mennini recently became the first Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain to make an official visit to the Royal Navy.

During the visit earlier this month, Archbishop Mennini was greeted by the Second Sea Lord, Admiral Jonathan Woodcock, and Mgr Andrew McFadden, the principal Catholic Chaplain to the Royal Navy, at Admiralty House in the historic naval base at Portsmouth.

Archbishop Mennini attended morning prayers with the naval community at St Ann’s, the naval church in the dockyard. He also went to sea to join crew of HMS Cattistock, which hoisted the yellow and white papal flag to mark the occasion.

The ship was then anchored at Spithead, off the Isle of Wight, before the archbishop was taken to the Maritime Warfare School at HMS Collingwood for Mass and a special lunch.

Following the visit, Mgr Andrew McFadden said: “The Royal Navy did the Nuncio proud. He really was treated as a VIP visitor. As well as meeting chaplains and senior officers, he had plenty of time to chat with sailors including the ship’s company of HMS Cattistock. The Naval Chaplaincy Service was truly honoured by the visit.”