POPE JOHN PAUL II: World's Farewell to the People's Pontiff

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Byline: By Neil Connor

The Archbishop of Birmingham yesterday spoke of the rich legacy that Pope John Paul II gave to the Catholic Church.

The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols was speaking to a packed congregation at St Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham at a special service in remembrance of the pontiff.

He told worshippers that the Pope had ``run his race'' as he had completed his duty and installed faith in his followers.

The Archbishop also spoke of the future direction of the Church, but said it was the Pope's leadership that ensured followers of the Catholic religion would be rewarded and enriched by their faith.

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.''

``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.''

Many people visited St Chad's throughout the day to say prayers and reflect on the death of the Pontiff.

Among them were a group of Polish men, who were working at a printers in Coleshill. …