A GROUP of churchpeople went to Rome and saw the Pope.
They spent a week in the city and were at Pope Benedict's general
audience in St Peter's Square in Vatican City. The visitors belonged to several churches in the Cleckheaton parish,
St Barnabas', St Luke's, St Philip, St James', St Paul's and Whitechapel. After the Pope addressed the waiting crowds in the square several
bishops representing English-speaking nations presented greetings to the pontiff. One of the greetings was from `pilgrims from the Cleckheaton and
District Churches Together group'. The Pope responded to the greetings by welcoming the people to Rome
and blessing them and their families. The visit to Rome was organised by the minister at St Luke's, the
Rev Maggie McLean. She said: "Each member of the group has been enriched by the many
different spiritual experiences Rome had to offer - its art and architecture, its history and religion and its music and culture." Whitechapel Church treasurer Philip Hardill said: "It was amazing."
As well as attending the general audience the visitors attended
services at Santa Susanna Catholic Church and All Saints Anglican Church, which was built several years after Pope Pius VII decreed in 1816 that English visitors could hold Anglican services in Rome. Bishop John Flack, a former Archdeacon of Halifax, is currently
director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and greeted the Cleckheaton visitors.