Among the congregation was a group of pilgrims from Viterbo, Italy, the birthplace of Blessed Dominic. They joined with pilgrims from Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds and the parishes of St Helens in celebrating the life of the priest described in his homily by Archbishop Longley as a ‘moving example of goodness and holiness’.
Archbishop Longley began his homily by recalling his first visit to the Shrine in the summer of 1987 when he celebrated Mass in the Chapel with his parents. He had just completed further studies at the English College in Rome and was about to begin teaching in the Seminary at Wonersh; speaking of Rome he said, ‘I think there the tradition of visiting the Shrines of the Saints had impressed me and I realised that not very far from my family home in Manchester there was the Shrine of Blessed Dominic, and I suppose, this association with Italy, Viterbo, was something significant too’.
Archbishop Longley has placed the Year of Faith in the Archdiocese of Birmingham under the patronage of Blessed Dominic and he continued, ‘The witness and preaching of Blessed Dominic make him a good patron for the Year of Faith since the Church has been encouraging us to embrace our faith in Christ with deeper understanding and to share it with others with renewed confidence and enthusiasm. Although the circumstances of our own time are very different from the England that Blessed Dominic came to know in the 1840s, his faith in Christ, as in his Church, is the same as ours.’
Archbishop Longley concluded by saying that Blessed Dominic draws people to the Lord: ‘By the manner of his life, by his words and gestures, people were drawn to him and they came to realise as they were close to him that they could see Christ himself present and acting in Blessed Dominic; he drew them to the Lord.’
Listen to Archbishop Longley's homily