BY Amanda Connelly | April 20 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

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Pope asks Scottish Catholic MP for his prayers

The Pope asked a Scottish Catholic MP to pray for him last week as the politician had the rare opportunity to meet with the pontiff during a parliamentary group visit to the Vatican.

SNP MP for Glasgow North, Patrick Grady, travelled to Rome with the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Holy See, where they ‘unexpectedly’ had the chance to meet and talk with the Holy Father himself.

The group, which was formed around 12 years ago, marks the first time Mr Grady, who is a vice-chair of the APPG on the Holy See, has accompanied the group on a visit to the Eternal City.

“The All Party Parliamentary Group on the Holy See was formed about 12 years ago and its first task was to successfully persuade the UK Government at the time not to merge the Holy See embassy with the Italian embassy,” Mr Grady said. “Since then the group has been a way for members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords to keep in touch with developments at the Vatican.

“It is open to all members, not just those who are Catholics.

“There is usually a delegation to the Vatican once every 12 to 18 months. This was the first time I’ve had the opportunity to join the group for a visit.”

During their time in Rome, the group had the chance to meet with various Vatican departments and cardinals, where they discussed key issues the Church and the world are facing.

The visit also saw them meet with Cardinal Turkson, where they talked about the refugee crisis, and Cardinal Farrell, discussing the upcoming World Meeting of Families in Dublin.

Mr Grady added that they also paid a visit to the communities at the Scots and English Colleges in Rome, where seminarians are trained for the priesthood.

However, taking part in the general audience and meeting with Pope Francis proved to be ‘the highlight of the visit’.

“The highlight of the visit was participating in the general audience with Pope Francis,” Mr Grady said. “Unexpectedly at the end, we were invited to meet very briefly with him in St Peter’s Square and had our photo taken.

“He asked us to pray for him and assured us of his prayers.”

Mr Grady believes his journey to the Vatican marks the first time an MP from Scotland has been part of the delegation for several years, and hopes other Scots will take part in future visits.

“One of the important things about the group is that it is made up of members from several political parties and from different parts of the United Kingdom, but we all share an interest in the work of the Holy See in the modern world,” he said. “I think it has been a few years since an MP from Scotland has been part of the delegation, so I hope some other colleagues from Scotland will be able to join future visits and perhaps I’ll be fortunate enough to visit again as well.”

 

 

 

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