A weekend of crowds and celebrations: great crowds in London for the splendid Royal Wedding – a joyous day that put new heart into Britain – and great crowds in Rome for the Beatification of the great John Paul II.
The wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton in the glorious surroundings of Westminster Abbey gave Britain an opportunity to celebrate all sorts of things that matter: marriage, family, traditions, and a sense of community and history. And everyone did celebrate – gathered in vast crowds in London, or at street-parties, or with friends and family round a TV set, with champagne and picnics and cheers and partying.
Then, in Rome, a magnificent history-making gathering at St Peter’s as over a million and a half people gathered to watch Pope Benedict XVI declare John Paul II, the Polish-born priest, poet, playwright and Pope to be Blessed. He now belongs to all of us for always not just as a beloved Pope and father-figure, but as part of the heritage of the Catholic Church, shaping and forming the thinking of Christians in the years to come.
Two great cities – London and Rome – and two great events. And all taking place in this Easter season, and under sunny skies: a lift and a boost for us all.