Archbishop Vincent Nichols celebrated a special Mass for Pope John Paul II at St Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham yesterday. During his homily Archbishop Nichols said: "In the next few days there will be much speculation about the future of the Church, the election of the new Pope and the direction the Church must take. "Some will speak of conservatives and liberals, progressives and modernisers, but these are not the important things. Faithfulness is the one guiding quality that is of greatest importance in the Church. "This is the quality we seek. That is what we offer to each other: the work of being faithful to what we have received from the Lord, no matter our circumstances. "That is what Pope John Paul II gave us: faithfulness to Christ, to the Word of God, to the teachings of the Church, to his own calling. He was so attractive in offering to others that same invitation: Be faithful; do not be afraid; be true to the Lord and then you will have life in its fullness. "In the last few days many people will have been touched by what they have seen and heard on the radio and TV. They will have sensed again the presence of God and it is the task of each member of the Church to encourage them to follow that instinct. "Many people in our society today are not as far from God as they think. In the days to come, please offer to others encouragement in faith. When they build on that instinct for God then they will come to a way of life that is enriched and rewarding." Archbishop Nichols concluded: "Today we take great courage from Pope John Paul II, a man of such great faith. He has now completed the task he was given; he has run his race. We thank God for all that He gave us in the wonderful ministry of John Paul, our Universal Pastor. May he rest in peace."
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