Introduction

Wembley Stadium - The First Open-Air Mass of the Visit, Saturday, 29 May 1982

Wembley Stadium provided the setting for the first open-air Mass of Pope John Paul II's visit to Britain. The stadium, which has been re-built since, was a venue where footballing dreams were made and shattered, but the Pope's reason for being there was to signpost people to a glory that goes beyond space and time. Where the Stadium once stood is now a 133m arch which can be seen across the skyline of north west London. In 1966 it saw England win the World Cup and on 29 May 1982, the Holy Father celebrate the first Mass of Pentecost. It is thought that around 80,000 people attended from across England and Wales.

Wembley

Holy Mass for the Renewal Of The Baptismal Promises homily of John Paul II, Wembley, 29 May 1982

After the Ascension the Apostles went back to the Upper Room, where Jesus had instituted the Eucharist and where he had declared that the law of love is the first and most essential of his commandments. And there they “joined in continuous prayer, together with several women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers” (Act. 1, 14). This evening we have gathered here in a similar spiritual atmosphere. On the eve of Pentecost I am celebrating this Mass with you. Together we shall renew our baptismal promises as an offering of ourselves to our heavenly Father, joined to the sacrificial offering of Christ in the Eucharist.

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