Sr Angela at meeting with Pope Francis

Archbishop Fichella, head of the International Convention of Rectors and Pastoral Workers of Shrines, held a meeting in Rome in November 2019. Rectors, religious and co-workers from all over the world attended the conference. The shrine of Our Lady of the Taper, Cardigan, is the National Shrine to Our Lady in Wales and Fr Phillip, Maria Mustard and myself attended the conference. Meetings were held in St Mary Major, where rectors of a few shrines gave testimony of their work and how they were hoping to promote their shrines. The University of St John Latern was the venue for the main conference, where participants had the opportunity to question and discuss some of the issues arising in caring for shrines and engaging the interest of the public.

The highlight of the Convention was the address held in the Papal apartments given by Pope Francis. In his address entitled “The shrine, an open door to Evangelization” Pope Francis said that people who visit shrines should find a place of warmth and welcome. He thanked all present for coming, for the work they were doing in promoting devotion to Our Lady and asked for a continuance of that work. After that the Holy Father asked that each individual present would come forward and greet him. This was a great privilege for all present and one quite unexpected! Even Archbishop Fichella was taken by surprise!