THE TWO British Cardinals are to lead a pilgrimage to Fatima in Portugal in May 1983 in thanksgiving for Pope John Paul's visit to Britain, it was announced on Tuesday.
Cardinal Basil Hume of Westminster and Cardinal Gordon Gray of St Andrews and Edinburgh will make the pilgrimage in fulfilment of a decision they took in the early weeks of May to pray at the Shrine of Mary if the Pope's visit to Britain, then under threat, actually took place.
At a meeting in early May between the Pope and the two cardinals which the Pope had called because of the Falklands crisis, Pope John Paul had promised he would pray at Fatima for his British visit when he visited the shrine.
In response, the two cardinals decided that, if the visit took place they would lead a pilgrimage to Fatima. They have subsequently been strengthened in their determination by the success of Pope John Paul's visit.
The proposed dates of the pilgrimage to Fatima are Friday May 27-Tuesday May 31, 1983, the first anniversay of the Pope's visit.
Full details will be publicised before the end of July. No bookings can be made until them.
Pope John Paul sent a letter of thanks to Cardinal Hume, after his visit. It read: "Upon my return to Rome I hasten to thank you, 'your brother bishops, and all who worked so diligently to make my pastoral visit to Britain a most memorable and joyful one. Praying that our merciful Redeemer will reward you for all your generosity and warm hospitality, I cordially impart my apostolic blessing."
On June 2, the last day of the Pope's visit to Britain, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Robert Runcie, issued a statement in which he said the Pope had come to Britain "with the grace of a pilgrim and a prophet."
"He has spoken convincingly of the things of God, but has adapted himself to people and occasions with the sensitivity of a gifted pastor" said Archbishop Runcie.
Interviewed the same day by Independent Television News, Dr Runcie said that in the aftermath of the Pope's visit "we shall need to look at the recognition of each others' orders."
Dr Runcie called the Holy Father "a Pope who listens".