Friday, January 29, 2010

German Pontiff To Visit Scotland

Benedict XVI to include Scotland during UK trip:
THE Pope is set to visit both Glasgow and Edinburgh during a historic trip to Scotland on September 16 and 17.

And the leader of the Catholic Church is expected to address tens of thousands of worshippers at a major open air event at Glasgow Green.

The plans will spark excitement among Scotland's 850,000 Catholics and bring back memories of Pope John Paul II's historic mass at Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, in 1982, pictured below.

Benedict XVI is set to make his first trip to Britain since becoming Pope in 2005.

Church sources told the Record that visits to Scotland's biggest cities were "firmly on the agenda", with plans for a special celebration at Glasgow Green "at an advanced stage".

In recent years, huge crowds have watched pop concerts by Michael Jackson, Radiohead and the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the park, close to Glasgow city centre.

The Vatican have not yet confirmed the visit, though an announcement is due at the end of next month or early March.

Talks have been taking place behind the scenes since Prime Minister Gordon Brown invited the Pope to visit Britain when they met last February.

Scots Secretary Jim Murphy has also travelled to the Vatican since then to emphasise the warm welcome the Pope could expect in Scotland. And yesterday a third cabinet minister raised hopes of a visit.

During a meeting at the Vatican,International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander said the Pope would be given a rapturous reception here.

Poverty The Paisley MP - son of a Church of Scotland minister - met the Pope for talks about the Catholic Church's global efforts to tackle poverty and the disaster in Haiti, which claimed the lives of a number of priests.

Alexander told the Record: "It was a huge honour and very moving, a day I'll long remember. I communicated the enthusiasm that would be felt in Scotland should the Pope visit this year.

"And I took the chance to thank him directly for his leadership in tackling poverty."

He added: "I was at Bellahouston Park in 1982 when John Paul II visited and I said I well remember the enthusiasm and support he received."

Alexander paid tribute to SCIAF, the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund, who played a leading role in the relief effort in Haiti.
H/T: Headline Bistro

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