Prayer Vigil at Westminster

Having taken a very slow train down to Brighton, we were alerted to the advantage of taking a fast train up again to Victoria. Arriving in the Piazza at about twenty to seven, there were already some good people saying the Rosary and displaying banners with scripture texts. The concert singing the 99 names of Allah was subject to strict security with a mobile "airport security" style screening tent. The police kindly provided a corral for us to use for our prayers.

At 7pm we began by singing the Credo and it was immediately apparent that the participants in this prayer vigil wished to proclaim their faith in the Triune God with enthusiasm. As a priest, I was happy to provide leadership for this group whilst being prepared to recognise that many came under their own initiative. Many people said that they were pleased that a priest came to lead the prayers. We sang, prayed the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, the Litany of the Holy Name, the Litany of Loreto, the Salve Regina and the Christus Vincit. At the end, I suggested that we might have enough energy to sing "Faith of our Fathers" and was proved correct in my supposition!

Various reporters asked why we were there. My reply was simply that the Cathedral was paid for from the pennies of the poor for the worship of God according to the Catholic faith. We have many areas of agreement with our Muslim brothers and sisters, notably on matters concerning the sanctity of human life and the importance of chastity and family life. Nevertheless, we do not agree on the nature of God. Muslims do not believe that God is three in one, nor do they believe in the divinity of Christ. It is not right to sing the names of Allah according to the Muslim faith in a Cathedral dedicated to the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

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