Saturday, 11 September 2010

Counting Down The Days...

I can hardly believe how close the Papal Visit is...

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.

Herald Party_0004Working 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.

Arriving outside the venue, I saw some very nice cars (big, shiny black ones, if you want to know - hey, I'm blonde. A car is a car) with chauffeurs waiting... and I began to wonder if I'd gatecrashed way out of my depth...

Herald Party_0002I later discovered that these cars belonged to the Hon. Sir Rocco Forte and HRH Princess Michael of Kent.

Yes, I am name-dropping.

I didn't get to speak to them, mind you, but that was my own fault. Being faced with the complexities of holding myself up on crutches, holding a drink (only orange juice, sadly, as I'd left the car at North Greenwich station) and retrieving various edibles from the passing waiters, I had opted to perch on a windowsill near the drinks' table and chat to anyone who came near - there's method in my madness... I figured I'd see quite a few people as they came to replenish their glasses... unfortunately I had failed to factor in the waiters circulating with bottles!

CH Reception 004

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.

Herald Party_0003

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!!!


EuropeanCatholic said...

I'm beginning to get really excited too. Like so many peoople, I have been praying for ages for the Pope's visit to our country.

Viva Il Papa!

justin said...

I'm so excited I'm about to BURST!

Even the anti-papist (so says the media..I just call them anti-Catholic) protests fail to dampen my enthusiasm.

On the side of the angels said...

gutted you didn't tap me on the shoulder and say hi !!

I hardly knew anyone and even then couldn't put names to faces - so probably embarassed myself immensely ; but am still in a daze at its abject weirdness !

...and no - I have no idea why I was asked - but am immensely grateful I was....

Adulio said...

You'll be leaving Blackfen at this rate and becoming a parishioner at the London Oratory at this rate!

Fr. John Mary, ISJ said...

From "the other side of the pond" here in rural Wisconsin, our little monastic community joins you in prayers during these days before, during and after our Holy Father's visit to the UK; may many graces from the intercession of our Lady, St. Joseph and the English Martyrs be given; may Pope Benedict be kept safe.

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