Pope John Paul II arrives at Gatwick Airport

His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, was greeted by Cardinal Basil Hume and the then Bishop of Arundel and Brighton (Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor), shortly after his plane landed at London Gatwick Airport. In keeling to kiss the British soil his thirteenth Pastoral Visit began. Addressing the crowds he said: "So I begin my pastoral visit to Britain with the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ: 'Peace be with you'. May the God of peace and reconciliation be with you all. May he bless your families and homes with his deep and abiding peace." Cardinal Cormac reminisces of greeting the Holy Father twenty-five years ago: “I said: ’Welcome Holy Father, it’s going to be a great week for you’, and then coming out of the plane he came down I stood behind him and it was a wonderful moment, and obviously he remembered it because next time I saw him I met him in Rome and said: ‘Hello Holy Father, it’s good to see you again’ and he said: 'Ah the Bishop of Gatwick!' So he remembered Gatwick."

Gatwick Airport

Pope John Paul II's welcome address at Gatwick Airport, 28 May 1982

You know that I have come on this pilgrimage of faith in order to make a pastoral visit to the Catholic Church here. Preparations for the journey began a long time ago, and I have been looking forward with joyful anticipation to the opportunity of celebrating the Eucharist and the other sacraments with the Catholic faithful of the local Churches. 

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Cardinal Hume Welcomes JPII

Cardinal Hume welcomes Pope John Paul II to Britain at Gatwick Airport in 1982.   JPII-gwk-card-hume.mp3 1.89 MB

Gatwick Opening Address

Pope John Paul II's opening address at Gatwick Airport in 1982 at the start of his Pastoral Visit to Great Britain.
  JPII-gwk-pope.mp3 5.04 MB

Pope John Paul II's Gatwick Speech

Pope John Paul II speaks about the importance of Christian unity during his opening address at Gatwick Airport in 1982 at the start of his Pastoral Visit to Great Britain.
  JPII-gwk-arr-ecumen.mp3 1.61 MB