I'm getting particularly excited because, well, in my capacity as a British Catholic Blogger, I have managed to get a Papal Visit Press Pass.
Yes, you read that correctly. I actually have managed to get my paws on a press pass for the Papal Visit. I can hardly believe it. It certainly wasn't easy, and I had to hassle a lot of people, but I got there eventually.
Where "there" actually "is" is another matter...
I also tried to wangle my way into Westminster Cathedral for the Papal Mass, but no dice.
The main advantage to having the pass, as far as I can work out, is the ability to come and go with a bit more freedom than a regular pilgrim. It will also be fascinating to see what facilities are available in the Media Centre.
So, for a few days, I get to pretend to be a proper journalist - in much the same way as I previously pretended to be a proper author. This blogging lark is fun.
Working on the basis that, if you don't ask, you don't get, I started off my temporary journalistic "career" by getting myself invited along to the Catholic Herald's reception in honour of the Papal Visit.
I later discovered that these cars belonged to the Hon. Sir Rocco Forte and HRH Princess Michael of Kent.
I did get to speak to Damian Thompson and Luke Coppen (with Fr. Tim Finigan in the photo) who somehow made me feel as if my lack of an invitation had been a complete oversight on their part. Anna Arco was present as well, having jetted back from Dubrovnik earlier in the week (according to her Facebook statuses.) Anna is always great fun to talk to, and she seemed almost as excited about my getting a press pass as I was. Joanna Bogle made an appearance, and we agreed to meet up for a chocolate cake and blogging session sometime soon.
Oona Stannard came and introduced herself, but she beat a hasty retreat when I muttered something uncomplimentary about the CES. I later heard that she'd been buttonholed by Daphne McLeod, and Daphne was rather more successful in challenging Oona about some of the CES's recent antics. I am very sorry to have missed that encounter. I am also rather sorry not to have met Daphne herself.
Mark Dowd (The Pope's British Divisions) came over to chat - I was extremely surprised that he remembered my name: I have dreadful problems with names, and have to make a real effort to learn them. He thanked me for the interview, which was even more surprising, given how short my contribution had been. I really enjoyed our conversation, which ranged from the parlous state of catechesis in this country (demonstrated by the Sixth Formers in Derby) through to the Stand Up for Vatican II mob having pretty much lost the argument (as admitted by Bernard Wynne in his interview slot) and finishing with Mark's latest (excellent) Catholic Herald article on the Holy Father. He left early, as he had to get down to Bath for more interviews in the run up to the Papal Visit.
His Hermeneuticalness was able to circulate, so got to meet rather more people... I did consider trying to get upstairs just to have a good look round, but the stairs appeared rather terrifying. I didn't fancy leaving the party by ambulance.
It was a really wonderful party, and a superb way to kick things off for the Holy Father's visit... Congratulations (and many thanks) to the Catholic Herald for putting on such a great event.
Eeeeeeeeeeeeeee ! Only five more days to go!!!