History: Bermuda’s Only Papal Visit In 1968

March 31, 2012

Almost ten percent of Bermuda’s population descended on the airport on August 24, 1968 to greet Pope Paul VI when he made a brief stopover on the island after visiting Colombia.

The pontiff’s three-hour layover here marked the island’s only papal visit to date.

Between four and five thousand locals jammed the airport to greet the former Italian cardinal who reigned as Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from June, 21 1963 until his death on August 6, 1978.

In his welcoming speech Governor Lord Martonmere said “There are days in the life of every country when history is made — this is such a day. People of many faiths have come here tonight to pay tribute to a Pope who is not only a great religious leader but also a great apostle of world peace and human understanding.”

Pope Paul replied: “How strange it would have seemed until recently that the Successor of St. Peter would find sufficient a few hours to cross broad continents and mighty seas, and visit distant lands whose very existence was unknown to the first Pope!

“Yet such journeys are but the continuation into this century of the apostolic wanderings of the first who held the high office of representing Christ for men of all continents and races.

“We therefore thank God, Who has given man dominion over creation and the wisdom to use it, that We are thus enabled to visit some of the most distant parts of that universal flock which He has committed to our care.”

The Pope continued: “We are well pleased that our return journey from the Eucharistic Congress at Bogotá permits Us to visit, though it be for a few brief moments only, these islands so justly famed for their beauty, and so find ourself among you and greet you all.

“May God bless all of you who have come to meet Us. May He bless your homes and all whom you hold dear. And before We leave these islands of the Atlantic, so distant on the map, yet so close to our heart, we lovingly impart our special blessing to you and to your spiritual and temporal leaders, praying that God may abundantly bestow on Bermuda the blessings of true peace and prosperity.”

Before departing the island, the Pope had a brief meeting with Catholic Bishop of Bermuda Bernard J. Murphy in the civil air terminal building and greeted some of the thousands of well-wishers who had gathered to welcome him.

“We spoke about Bermuda and His Holiness expressed great interest in the welfare of the Church here” said Bishop Murphy.

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  1. David Martin says:

    Greetings:

    Concerning your March 31, 2012 article on “Bermuda’s Only Papal Visit in 1968,” would it be possible to receive from you a high resolution pic-file of the photo of Pope Paul VI used in the article? I aim to publish a book on Pope Paul before June and I would very much like to use that photo on the front cover of the book.

    The purpose of the book is to defend and exonerate Paul VI who is presently coming under fire by anti-church groups in the wake Pope Benedict’s decision in December 2012 to declare him Venerable. We believe this book will help expedite the process of his canonization.

    Please let me know what can be done to obtain a copy of that photograph; it’s about the best one I’ve seen so far.

    Thanking you kindly for your consideration, I remain,

    David Martin
    Former Moderator, St Michael’s Radio
    323.888.1111