BY SCO Admin | September 2 2010 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Quite a show for Holy Father

Cardinal O’Brien promises a ‘grand Scottish spectacle;’ Bishop Logan has to withdraw after injury

POPE Benedict XVI will be greeted by a ‘grand Scottish spectacle’ on the streets of Edinburgh when he arrives in Scotland in two weeks time, Cardinal Keith O’Brien announced this week.

Cardinal O’Brien was speaking at Tuesday’s launch of the St Ninian’s Day Parade, held at St Margaret’s Chapel, Edinburgh Castle. The parade will welcome the Holy Father to Britain as well as raise money for good causes at home and abroad and estimates suggest as many as a billion people throughout the world could be watching the day’s events unfold.

Bishop Logan withdraws

The good news of the parade launch has been tempered, however, by Wednesday’s announcement that Bishop Vincent Logan of Dunkeld Diocese has been forced to withdraw from all events organised to mark the visit of the Holy Father after breaking his shoulder.

“I am deeply sorry to have to make this announcement, but I have to adhere to the medical advice I have been given,” Bishop Logan said. “I am so sorry to be unable to participate in the meeting of the Holy Father with Her Majesty the Queen at Holyrood and to concelebrate with the Holy Father, my brother bishops, and fellow priests at Bellahouston and at various events in England. I will most certainly join in prayer with everyone, at every event, throughout the four days Pope Benedict is with us, and I feel sure that all of us will be enriched and encouraged by his presence among us.”

Bishop Logan has donated the vestments to be worn by the St Ninian character in the Edinburgh parade.

Parade launch

Over a thousand pipers, hundreds of school children and dozens of actors playing historical characters from Scotland’s past will take part in the parade on St Ninian’s Day, September 16, with Mary’s Meals and Marie Curie Cancer Care set to benefit from fundraising on the day.

The cardinal—who was joined at Tuesday’s launch by Fiona Hyslop, Scottish Minister for Culture and External Affairs, children from St Ninian’s primary schools in Edinburgh and Stirling, pipers from Lochgelly High School, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, founder and chief executive of Mary’s Meals, Karin Steward and Robbie McIntosh from Marie Curie Cancer Care—spoke of the special significance of Pope Benedict arriving in Scotland on St Ninian’s Day.

“In centuries gone by St Ninian’s Day was always a great occasion for national celebration and charitable giving,” he said. “We’ve now got a fabulous chance to resurrect that noble Scottish tradition by raising money for two wonderful charities.”

September 16 events

The St Ninian’s Day Parade will begin at 11am from Regent Road and will process along Princes Street concluding at 12.30pm with the arrival of the Holy Father in the Popemobile.

Earlier that morning the Holy Father will be met at Edinburgh Airport by the Duke of Edinburgh—the first time the Queen’s consort has been dispatched to meet a visiting head of state—the cardinal and Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster.

The Pope will attend a state welcome and audience with the Queen at the Palace of Holyrood House before travelling through the streets of the capital behind the parade on his way to have lunch at Cardinal O’Brien’s residence at St Bennet’s. Later that day the Holy Father will celebrate Mass at Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park.

The parade VIPs will be pupils from the 14 Scottish primary schools named after St Ninian, including Catholic, Episcopalian and non-denominational schools, while the historical characters, including St Ninian—played by historian and SCO writer Dr Harry Schnitker—St Columba, St Margaret, Mary Queen of Scots and John Knox—played by Scottish actor John Shedden—will chart the history of Christianity in Scotland since the days of St Ninian.

“The St Ninian’s Day parade will be a wonderful occasion as crowds gather in the streets of Edinburgh to extend the world-renowned warm Scottish welcome to the Holy Father,” Fiona Hyslop said. “This is a great opportunity for all of Scotland to celebrate the positive contribution all our faith communities make to the life of our nation.”

Jenny Dawe, leader of Edinburgh City Council, said Scotland’s welcome to Pope Benedict would be a ‘superb opportunity for Edinburgh to be seen on the world stage and to showcase the city as an excellent host of major events.’

Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, the founder and chief executive of Mary’s Meals, said: “The St Ninian’s Day Parade promises to be a wonderful event, bringing together people from across Scotland to welcome the Pope. Mary’s Meals is thrilled to have been chosen as one of the charities to benefit from the celebration and our staff and volunteers are looking forward to being involved on the day.”  The charity is looking for volunteers to help during the St Ninian’s Day parade.

Hierarchy heartened

Cardinal O’Brien has also spoken this week of being ‘greatly heartened’ by the results of a recent poll, carried out by Opinion Research Business, which found that as few as two per cent of Scots are ‘strongly opposed’ to Pope Benedict’s visit to the UK with more than 15 times as many people saying they are in favour of the visit.

“I am greatly heartened by the results of this poll as it again confirms that the vast majority of Scots are warm hearted and welcoming of all people,” the cardinal said. “Next month’s Papal visit is going to be a truly historic occasion for our country and one which I hope all Scots will share in and enjoy.”

Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow Archdiocese, this week said he ‘could not have thought of a better way to finish my ministry as a bishop than by having the Holy Father celebrate Mass in Glasgow’ and urged as many parishioners as possible to attend what will be ‘the experience of a lifetime.’

“I never had envisaged that, while being Archbishop of Glasgow, I would have the privilege that my predecessor [Cardinal Thomas Winning] had of welcoming the Pope again to Bellahouston Park and to Scotland,” Archbishop Conti said. “I think it’s going to be enormously exciting for us all to have the Pope in our midst.

“We are going to be first to receive the Pope, we are going to be in the sight of the whole world, our lovely cities are going to be on television and we are going to show Scottish hospitality at its best.”

— For more information visit

— To volunteer to help Mary’s Meals on September 16 e-mail or call Rachael on 0141 336 7094.


Pic: Paul McSherry

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