Whether you’re a practising Catholic or just like to keep up with the times, you have to admit that next month’s Papal Visit is something to get excited about. Not least because it’s the first time a Pope has ever made a state visit to the UK!
The full itinerary for Pope Benedict XIV’s visit to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Birmingham and London was only announced recently, with just a few weeks to go before the Holy Father touches down at Edinburgh Airport. I think it’s great that this ‘UK tour’ will give more people a chance to see the Pope locally without having to make a lengthy trip… well, unless you live in Wales or Northern Ireland I guess!
So what will Pope Benedict be getting up to on his tour of England and Scotland? Well as you’d expect, a lot of the celebrations will take place inside some of the UK’s grandest churches, but you’ll also be able to see His Holiness at some outdoor events, and join the celebrations.
Papal Visit Itinerary
If you’re in Scotland on Thursday 16 September, you’ll have two chances to see Pope Benedict on his journey. The Holy Father will first be travelling from Edinburgh Airport to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where he’ll have an audience with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Sounds like the perfect occasion for royalty spotters, but you’ll have a much better chance of seeing the Pope in person when he celebrates mass in Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park in the evening.
The Pope will then head down to England on Friday 17th, where the first order of business will be a private mass in the Apostolic Nunciature at Wimbledon, followed by another exclusive address to the civil society in the Palace of Westminster. But you won’t have to wait too long for a public appearance, because he’ll be leading the congregation in evening prayer at the historic Westminster Abbey.
The most talked-about part of the Papal Visit is surely the evening celebration in London’s Hyde Park on Saturday 18 September, where the Pope will lead a Prayer Vigil, before heading up to Britain’s second city, Birmingham, to celebrate mass in Cofton Park on Sunday.
There you have it – all the places you can see Pope Benedict XVI on his historic tour of the UK, so you can tell your grandchildren where you were when the Pope visited!