The historic moment came as the gathered crowd prepared for the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI, during an exploration of Cardinal Newman’s motto ‘heart speaks unto heart’, the theme for the visit.
Monsignor John Armitage, from Custom House, reminded the crowd of our calling to build a world where everyone can flourish. He invited everyone to stand and call for world leaders to keep their promises to halve poverty by 2015, as set out in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000.
80,000 people stood up together in solidarity with the millions of people who live in poverty around the world. They pledged their commitment to work against poverty and injustice, and called on world leaders to keep their promises.
Margaret Lillis, from St Edward’s Parish in Macclesfield said: “The Stand Up for Poverty moment was one of the most powerful parts of the whole fabulous day. It was as if we all suddenly realised that we can alleviate poverty if we work together. I felt there was a genuine renewal of commitment amongst the thousands gathered. It made me very proud to be a Catholic!”
Footage of the moment, alongside clips from events around the world will be broadcast onto a New York building for UN delegates at the MDGs summit starting on 20 September.
The strong message from UK Catholics will be passed on to the UN representatives by Cardinal Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace who will be representing the Catholic Church at the summit.
Tackling poverty from the heart
Throughout Pope Benedict’s visit, action on poverty has been at the forefront of peoples’ minds, and his call to speak from the heart clearly resonated with the 80,000 people in Hyde Park and beyond. CAFOD’s campaign to Act on Poverty has now been taken up by more than 10,000 Catholics, and we’re hoping to reach a new goal of 20,000 signatures by the 10th October.
CAFOD director Chris Bain praised the strong voice of the Catholic community, who, he said, have consistently called for global justice. He added, “The 80,000 people who stood up against world poverty at the Papal Vigil in Hyde Park, sent a message not only about Millennium Development Goals, but about the need for a world where every person has dignity, can flourish and where we all work towards the common good.”