The Papal Visit Debate...... What an afternoon of insight and memories

I've just got back from the Papal visit debate and i'm full of emotions. The afternoon started with a presentation from Maria O Reilly an activist who lived and worked in Liverpool 8. Maria spoke passionately of her personal involvement in the 1981 riots which took place in Toxteth one year prior to the papal visit. Her insights gave a cultural and political context to the papal visit so that we could understand just how much more significant the papal visit was to the city of Liverpool. Father Nick then spoke about his work in the community when he arrived to live in Toxteth during 1971, his presentation really highlighted the importance of working within the community.

The second part of the debate then investigated the Papal Visit itself. Starting off with Myles Davies who represented the Anglican Cathedral, his anecdotes involving his rather persuasive mother offered a great insight to the significance of the papal visit for all faiths and are certainly something that we will seek to capture when we interview him in the next few weeks. Angela OBrian then spoke about how she was a young steward at the papal visit and was unbelievably blessed by Pope John Paul II. This was a fantastic anecdote which really showed the power and importance of the papal visit on the young people of Liverpool.

Canon John Furnival was next to speak and he really introduced to the group how the papal visit was so close to being cancelled and the context surrounding the visit regarding the political backdrop and therefore the increased security required. Canon John Furnival also provided some wonderful anecdotes regarding the pope's bed and the pope's hearty breakfast! The session ended with a wonderful presentation from Bishop Malone who was incredibly involved with the papal visit. Bishop Malone spoke of the mass that took place in the piazza, the address at Speke Airport, the procession along Hope Street alongside many other key moments. The research group have learnt and gained so much insight by this sessions and we all simply can't wait to interview our wonderful panel. This was our last debate and what a debate to end with. 

Interviews start on Monday!