Welwyn Hatfield worshippers welcome Pope

WORSHIPPERS from Welwyn Hatfield were among those who got the chance to see the Pope during his visit, the first by a serving pontiff since John Paul II in 1982.

Ben Solomon, 26, was at St Mary’s University in Twickenham on Friday, to see Benedict XVI address an audience of 3,500 students from Catholic educational establishments.

Ben, of Salisbury Gardens, WGC, said: “It was an absolutely fantastic occasion.

“Seeing all those young people enthusiastic about his visit is the lasting impact it has had on me.”

On Saturday, the pontiff held a prayer vigil in front of some 80,000 people in London’s Hyde Park.

Among them were Phoebe Aranki-Stoves and her mum, Nadia Aranki-Stoves, both of Dawley, WGC.

Phoebe said there was “great excitement” as worshippers watched the Pope travel towards the park on big screens.

Most Read

She continued: “As he entered, the music welled, everyone sang Alleluia and waved their Vatican flags in the air.

“The atmosphere was electric.

“My mother and I were moved to tears.

“It was amazing.”

The 25-year-old, who went to Monk’s Walk School in WGC, revealed how her mum had been alive for six Popes and that she could remember all of their homilies.

Phoebe added: “It was an honour to be addressed by the Pope, to hear him speak about love and peace and tolerance and care for the old and poor.

“He even gave a special thanks to the youth in the crowd, which drew a big cheer.

“We are so lucky and honoured that he came to the UK and that he came for us.”

Peter Murphy, who is studying business and mathematics at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield, was also among the crowd.

The 19-year-old, who is president of the university’s Catholic Society, said: “There was a lot of excitement in Hyde Park.”

He added: “The Pope has a remarkable presence.

“You could feel his presence even though, from where I stood, he was a speck in the distance.”