The Diocese of Nottingham was pleased to welcome the Apostolic Nuncio of Great Britain, His Excellency Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, this last weekend. His visit opened with a drinks reception at Bishop’s House on Saturday evening where amongst those in attendance, were the Lord Lieutenant Sir John Peace, Nottinghamshire Police Chief Constable Craig Guildford and His Honour Michael Stokes, QC, DL.
It was a pleasant occasion and provided an opportunity to share something of the life and mission of the diocese with local dignitaries and the Apostolic Nuncio. His Excellency emphasised the role of the Church to be at the service of people in the region and Sir John Peace echoed this, thanking the bishop for the witness and work of the Diocese of Nottingham locally.
On Sunday morning, the Archbishop celebrated Mass at the University of Nottingham for the Catholic Community of staff and students. His supportive presence on campus and in the diocese, expressed the closeness of the Holy Father. He underlined the importance of universities as centres for building civilisation and the role our Christian heritage plays in understanding our civilisation.
His Excellency encouraged those present, not to limit their pursuits to only their own time and place, as this results in a localitas rather a much richer universitas. After a lively Q&A with the students, the University hosted a reception for the Nuncio where he was welcomed by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Shearer West. Various local dignitaries, academics and chaplains were present and enjoyed the opportunity to meet with His Excellency and share with him a little of their good work in the University and the wider community.
The Archbishop’s last engagement was to join Bishop Patrick in celebrating the Rite of Election at St Barnabas Cathedral on Sunday afternoon. It was the first ‘in-person’ Rite of Election to be celebrated post-pandemic and was an occasion of great joy. Over 300 people attended the service, those hoping to be baptised and those to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church this Easter, and also priests and people supporting them on their journeys.
Some parishes were preparing to welcome into the Church as many as 14 people of all backgrounds, ages and ethnicities. The Rite was also something of a novelty for the Nuncio, who had not experienced this service in his previous postings across Eastern Europe. He offered a few words of encouragement to those present, thanking them for the ‘extraordinary adventure’ they have embarked upon. He reminded them that ‘Jesus…your friend and brother has been waiting for you for all eternity …and no one else can come and take your place on this journey.’
The Nuncio then suggested to the candidates, that they be grateful and content as they give themselves into the hands of God and to relax as the Holy Spirit ‘does the rest.’ He wished them well as they journeyed towards Baptism and Confirmation and thanked them ‘for the wonderful gift which enriches all our Church and makes us feel that we are surviving and still young!’ Bishop Patrick thanked the Nuncio for his presence in the Diocese and expressed his own gratitude at seeing the Cathedral so full for this joyful occasion.