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Huge crowds greet arrival of Saint Thérèse's relics in London

Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St Simon Stock

Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St Simon Stock

There were extraordinary  scenes in London last night, as more than 2,000 people clamoured to get a glimpse of the casket carrying the  relics  of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, as it was brought into the Carmelite Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St Simon Stock in Kensington Church Street.

Earlier, many hundreds of people had queued for hours to attend a special Mass celebrated at 6pm, by Cardinal Cormac Murphy–O’Connor, Bishop Alan Hopes with the Carmelite clergy.

When the Mass ended, the clergy processed out of the church to greet the relics, but the crowds were so great, a welcoming ceremony was cut short, on the advice of the police. Addressing the crowds, Cardinal Cormac  appealed for people to be patient. He said the arrival of the relics was a “wonderful and uplifting event”.

One parishioner told ICN:  “I did arrive an hour early, hoping to get to the Mass but the church was already completely full. When the Mass ended and the Cardinal and Archbishop came out,  the crowd seemed to really swell. Duke Street became completely full of people and the crowds overflowed into Kensington Church Street.  The police put up a cordon for people’s safety really. It was an astonishing sight.”

The relics were remaining at the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St Simon Stock for all-night veneration. They were due to be taken to Wormwood Scrubs Prison this morning where prisoners will have the opportunity to spend time with them.

The relics will then be moved to Westminster Cathedral, where they are due to arrive at 6.30pm this evening.  They will be blessed on the steps of the Cathedral by Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster John Arnold before being taken into the Cathedral.  The relics will remain at Cathedral until a Mass of Farewell, celebrated by Archbishop Vincent Nichols on Thursday,  15 October at 3.30pm.