We join with the rest of the Catholic world in prayer for the soul of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who died yesterday. May he rest in peace, ‘good and faithful servant’ that he was.

On this day ten years ago, on 1 January 2013, we were received into the full communion of the Catholic Church at the Oratory in Oxford. How many blessings and graces have flowed from that day! We thank God for them all.

Exactly a year before, Pope Benedict XVI had spoken these words: ‘Mary is the mother and model of the Church, who receives the divine Word in faith and offers herself to God as the “good soil” in which he can continue to accomplish his mystery of salvation. The Church also participates in the mystery of divine motherhood, through preaching, which sows the seed of the Gospel throughout the world, and through the sacraments, which communicate grace and divine life to men. The Church exercises her motherhood especially in the sacrament of Baptism, when she generates God’s children from water and the Holy Spirit, who cries out in each of them: “Abba, Father!”. Like Mary, the Church is the mediator of God’s blessing for the world: she receives it in receiving Jesus and she transmits it in bearing Jesus. He is the mercy and the peace that the world, of itself, cannot give, and which it needs always, at least as much as bread’.

As we stepped forward in faith on that day in 2013, may we continue, like Mary ‘our mother and model’, to place all our hope and trust in God. May you be richly blessed in your own journey in this coming year, with all the love that God lavishes upon us.