Pope Francis’s diplomat to the UK visited Chester and Ellesmere Port as part of a three day visit to the Diocese of Shrewsbury.

During his tour of the diocese, the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, visited St Columba’s RC Church in Chester for Mass with the bishop of Shrewsbury, the Rt Rev Mark Davies and clergy of the diocese.

The archbishop prayed for the laity and parish workers in the diocese which continues the mission of the Catholic Church across Cheshire and Shropshire and parts of Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Derbyshire.

In Ellesmere Port, the Nuncio visited Ellesmere Port Catholic High School, which was hosting a diocesan symposium on reconciliation, where he was welcomed by head boy Michael Atkinson.

The symposium considered the meaning of reconciliation and forgiveness and how society can better prepare young people to spread a message of peace.

During his visit, the archbishop spent time in prayer in the school chapel which moved to a new location in the heart of the school as part of a refurbishment of the school buildings this summer.

 

Headteacher Caroline Vile said “As a school community we are honoured and blessed that our school was chosen to host the symposium and we were delighted to welcome Bishop Mark Davies and Archbishop Antonio Mennini during the day.”

The diocese of Shrewsbury was originally formed from the six northern counties of Wales along with Cheshire and Shropshire in 1851 with the Welsh part of the diocese breaking away in 1895.

The visit to the diocese, which has 200,000 faithful, was at the Nuncio’s request.

It has 91 priests and 104 parishes with 17 other churches and chapels open to the public.

There are 112 Catholic schools and colleges with more than 42,600 pupils and students.,

The Nuncio was ordained in 1974 and became a Vatican diplomat in 1981.

He was appointed in 2010.

Manchester born Bishop Davies, the 11th bishop of Shrewsbury, became bishop in 2010 after being ordained in 1984.

The visit concluded with an All Saints Day Mass in Shrewsbury Cathedral.