Friday, 17 September 2010

A Round-Up Of The First Day...

Day 1 Papal Visit_0001Yes, it's late. I don't care. I'm still buzzing with all the excitement.

I took a few photos while I was at the Media Centre, and I've uploaded a selection of them to my Flickr page. I have succeeded in borrowing a laptop, so tomorrow I should be able to blog properly, with screenshots of some of the action instead of having to take photos of the television... I'll also remember to bring a phone charger...

I enjoyed meeting some of the Catholic Voices - I think they've done a pretty good job of standing up to the media onslaught. No, it hasn't been perfect, and sometimes one might have wished for a more robust defence of the Faith, but the team have been under an immense amount of pressure, they aren't full-time media personnel, and they haven't been around for very long. I know that I wouldn't have done as well in those circumstances - I'm better with the written word than with the spoken one!

Anyway, Neil D'Aguiar, Ella Leonard and Michael d'Arcy were ready to be interviewed by anyone who wanted to know more, while Eileen appeared to be co-ordinating things (she claimed to be purely administrative!) I was extremely flattered to find out that my blog was known... although they admitted to reading it only intermittently. Better than not at all... More of the "Voices" turned up at intervals, having appeared on TV or radio...

Day 1 Papal Visit_0004It was also fun to meet Jack Valero. He looked a little tired, which, given the number of places I've seen his name crop up, is only to be expected. He told me that he hoped that Catholic Voices would be around for much longer than just the duration of the Papal Visit. I asked Jack what he thought about the bus adverts calling for women priests, and he told me that, after the initial announcement of the adverts being run had gone up, one television station (I forget which) had wanted to do a piece on them... only no-one could find any buses with the adverts on them... so the piece had been dropped!

It was great to hear the new MacMillan Mass setting being sung for the first time - though it is worth bearing in mind that the Sanctus and the Agnus Dei had Cantor-Congregation repeating phrases, whereas the Mass as originally written does not. The repeats did interrupt the flow, in my humble opinion.

Day 1 Papal Visit_0018

Seeing the Holy Father drive round the crowds at Bellahouston Park was amazing. Despite all the negative coverage in the press, the people of Scotland showed up in huge numbers. One spokesman said that they had opted for 65,000 tickets for the Mass rather than filling the place to capacity because they figured that people would be more comfortable with a bit of space to put down a chair or blanket rather than being jammed in like sardines. Even so, there didn't seem to be much in the way of space between people. Even so, I think someone said that there were many more people present. That, plus the estimated 125,000 who were lining the streets in Edinburgh, means that at least 190,000 people made the effort to go and see the Holy Father on his first day.

The most moving part of the day for me was when the Holy Father stopped the popemobile, lowered the window and kissed the baby that was passed in to him. He actually did this twice... the camera managed to home in on the mother of the second baby (the one in a pink fleece) who was positively hopping up and down with excitement as she immediately phoned someone to let them know that her baby had been kissed by the Pope. Awesome!

The major disappointment, for me, was what looked like the deliberate flouting of the Holy Father's preferred "Benedictine arrangement" of the altar for Mass. Putting the six candles on the ground, three each side of the altar, does not achieve the same thing.

Right, unless I want to oversleep tomorrow, I really had better finish.


Father John Boyle said...

What a day, Mac.

Mark said...


Remind me about the candles someday. I have a story I would like to tell you!

Warm wishes from a very proud Scotland.

God bless you!

Seraphic Spouse said...

I saw one of the babies and her family on their way to the railway station afterwards.

Did you see Damian Thompson? I rubbernecked at the Media Centres in Edinburgh and Glasgow hoping for a glimpse of the Divine Mr D, but no luck

Paul Smeaton said...

How fun. Did you ask Jack why he has been the spokesperson for the persecution of the Birmingham Three and stating on national media that the Church isn't against condoms?

He congratulated me for singing the Ave Maria in Westminster. I told him then and I'm happy to tell him now, I don't appreciate what he's doing.

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