Audio Diary: August

Weekly audio update on the Papal Visit: 23 August 2010

23/08/2010 11:45 am

Monsignor Andrew Summersgill - Papal Visit Co-ordinator


Welcome to this week’s audio update from the desk of the Papal Visit Co-ordinator, Mgr Andrew Summersgill. In this interview we discuss the itinerary, the Missal for the visit, and prayers for the Holy Father.

The audio will be available via an MP3 player on the right hand side of this article later.

There's been a lot of interest in the timeline of events for the Papal Visit, can we go over the main parts of this?

Mgr Andrew Summersgill: Yes, by all means. The itinerary is more or less as it was when an outline was published a month ago, but in keeping with its normal practice the Holy See has now published a much more detailed and timed itinerary of what Pope Benedict will be doing while he’s in the UK. As we know, he’ll be going to Edinburgh where he’ll begin his visit by meeting with Her Majesty The Queen and there will be a reception in Holyroodhouse. And then in the afternoon Pope Benedict will travel to Glasgow to celebrate Mass in Bellahouston Park.

On the Friday the Pope spends the day in London and will be in St Mary’s University College, beginning the day with prayer with representatives of religious congregations. Then he will meet with children and young people to celebrate Catholic education. That will be broadcast on the internet and the invitation is there to all Catholic schools and colleges, and indeed any school and college, to participate in that and to be part of that at the beginning of the academic year. And then Pope Benedict will conclude the morning by meeting with representatives of other religions and people of faith, to reflect together on the importance of faith in society. Then in the afternoon Pope Benedict will have his meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury. He will then go to Westminster Hall to speak to representatives of British society, before concluding the day with prayer, with evening prayer in Westminster Abbey.

Saturday begins with courtesy calls from the political leaders of this country. Then the celebration of Mass in Westminster Cathedral during which there will be a particular moment for young people and also a greeting to Wales, because as we know, sadly the Pope can’t go to Wales because of the pressures of time. In the afternoon Pope Benedict will go and visit older people at the St Peter’s residential home, and then join the Vigil which will have started in Hyde Park. He will join for the end part which will include, while he is there, his address and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction.

The final day of the Visit sees the Pope travelling to Birmingham to celebrate the beatification of Cardinal Newman in Cofton Park, followed by a brief personal visit to the Birmingham Oratory. He will then travel to Oscott College where he will have lunch with the bishops of England, Scotland and Wales. He will meet with them and then move to Birmingham airport for the departure and farewell ceremony before returning to Rome. So it’s quite a detailed programme, and then within that there will be times when Pope Benedict will be travelling in the Popemobile - these will be published in due course and will offer the opportunity for people to see him and greet him as he travels around.

What do you think are some of the most significant events?

Mgr AS: Well I think for all those concerned they are all significant. The beatification of Cardinal Newman is clearly a highlight, and it’s the "Church" reason if you like for Pope Benedict coming here. In terms of the other parts of the visit, I think at the very beginning, the meeting between Pope Benedict and The Queen will be particularly significant and I’m looking forward to listening to what both of them have to say. And the series of things on the Friday afternoon, the Pope going to Lambeth and then travelling back across the river, to Westminster firstly to the Palace of Westminster to speak in Westminster Hall, and then to pray in Westminster Abbey - I think those will be lovely moments as well.

And the Missal has been published for the Papal Visit, what are the plans for sending this out to the parishes?

Mgr AS: Yes, the Missal has been prepared and is now with the distributors. The plan is that towards the end of this week and the beginning of next it will be distributed to parishes across England, Scotland and Wales. There are approximately one million copies of the Missal available. Although that isn’t enough for everybody who regularly attends Mass it is enough for each household, certainly, to have a copy. And also of course those people who are going either to Bellahouston, to Hyde Park, or to Cofton Park. They need to get their copy from their local parish as well so that they can take them with them, because it has all the details of the liturgy that they will need. They will be available in time for 5 September which is two weeks before the visit and we hope that it will be a helpful aid for those who are attending the papal gatherings. It will also be helpful for those who will be following the Pope from home, or in parish gatherings - it’s designed to help across the board and a lot of hard work has gone into it. It looks really good I think and we'll be asking people if they would like to make a donation towards the costs. That would be really helpful and information will be given by local priests as to how to do that. So it’s a great step forward really, it shows us that the Pope’s on the way and that the excitement’s really rising.

And we hear this week that some organisations are planning prayer campaigns for the Holy Father and for the success of the Papal Visit - did you hear about that?

Mgr AS: I did, yes. I think the one you’re talking about is Aid to the Church in Need who’ve organised that. I’m also aware of a spiritual bouquet that has been prepared by the Catholic Women’s League. I’m sure those prayers join with lots and lots of others who are praying both for Pope Benedict and also for the success of the Visit. I know certainly in the parish I was in this weekend helping out, the bidding prayers included a prayer for the success of the Papal Visit, so that was lovely.


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