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Pope invite for murdered Jimmy Mizen's family

PUBLISHED: 11:35 24 September 2010

Barry and Margaret Mizen with sons George, 11 and Tommy, 28.

Barry and Margaret Mizen with sons George, 11 and Tommy, 28.

Archant

The family of a murdered schoolboy received a standing ovation from a crowd of 80,000 people when they spoke on stage at a vigil led by the Pope.

Catholics Margaret and Barry Mizen spoke of their faith at the ceremony in Hyde Park in Central London, last Saturday afternoon, during the four day visit to the UK by Pope Benedict XVI.

Their 16-year-old altar boy son Jimmy, who used to work in the family business - a shoe repair shop in Sidcup High Street - suffered a fatal attack in a bakery near his home in Lee in May 2008.

His mother told the crowds that she “hoped for a future where no young people are taken from us”.

She added: “We didn’t feel angry. No one could understand our reaction but we learned very quickly that anger breeds anger. It was anger that killed our son and we wouldn’t let it destroy our family.

“This is my message to you parents - take your children in your arms and tell them how much you love them.”

The couple were asked two months ago to take part in the vigil, one of a number of huge public services led by the Pope in Glasgow, London and Birmingham.

Afterwards, Mrs Mizen told the Times: “It was absolutely amazing. The atmosphere was phenomenal and we got a standing ovation, even though I don’t think we deserved one.

“I think I felt more anxious on the Friday but when the Saturday came I was much less anxious. We had the practise.

“The hardest thing was doing the rehearsal on a stage with nobody there. I wasn’t scared when I was on stage and there was this sea of heads.

“I have never experienced anything like that in my life. I have never even been to a concert. The stage was enormous.

“It was just wonderful to be on stage with the pope. He was this little glow of light. He was very frail and I hadn’t expected that.”

Speaking of the protests before and during his visit, stemming from the Church’s alleged cover up of child abuse committed by Catholic priests, she said: “Everyone has issues in life but sometimes we have to let people live their own lives and make their own choices. Shouting and screaming doesn’t achieve anything.

“Religion is important. It doesn’t matter what religion it is as long as it is practised peacefully.

“We must respect each other’s religions.”

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