English College students (properly dressed) meet the Holy Father

Last Monday, the Holy Father venerated a relic of St Ralph Sherwin, the first of the 44 martyrs of the Venerable English College in Rome. The occasion was the 650th anniversary of the founding of the hospice for English pilgrims in Rome (the oldest English institution outside of England) which became in 1579 a College for training students to return as priests to the English mission at the risk of their lives. Here are two quotations from the the address of the Holy Father:
Potius hodie quam cras, as Saint Ralph Sherwin said when asked to take the missionary oath, “rather today than tomorrow”. These words aptly convey his burning desire to keep the flame of faith alive in England, at whatever personal cost. Those who have truly encountered Christ are unable to keep silent about him. As Saint Peter himself said to the elders and scribes of Jerusalem, “we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). [...]

Your forebears faced a real possibility of martyrdom, and it is right and just that you venerate the glorious memory of those forty-four alumni of your College who shed their blood for Christ. You are called to imitate their love for the Lord and their zeal to make him known, potius hodie quam cras. The consequences, the fruits, you may confidently entrust into God’s hands.
The whole occasion looks to have been a very joyful encounter between the future priests and the Bishop of Rome. I was delighted to see that the students all dressed properly in their cassocks for the occasion. Here they are singing for the Pope:

The photos are from Osservatore's Servizio Fotografico. The photo pages are served by Flash so don't have separate URLS. To find the pages of photos from the audience, click as follows:
  • Galleria Fotografica
  • Benedetto XVI
  • Eventi 2012
  • Dicembre 2012
  • Venerabile Collegio Inglese

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