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Papal Visit 2010 live blog: Bellahouston Park

Pope Benedict XVI (Photo: PA)

Welcome to our live blog of the Papal Mass in Bellahouston Park, Scotland. We’ll be providing links to the most interesting content from around the web and providing up-to-the-minute coverage of what’s happening at the Mass. Don’t forget to send us your own pictures, stories and video!

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19.04 Andrew M Brown

That’s all for tonight. We’ll be back tomorrow. Good night. And God bless

19.01 Andrew M Brown

And the Holy Father kisses the altar as he leaves the sanctuary. This 83-year-old still has more to do: he has to catch a flight back to London and he’s not expected at the nunciature at the edge of Wimbledon Common until much later this evening. Apparently Boris Johnson will greet him on arrival in London.

18.59 Andrew M Brown

And the people respond: Deo gratias – thanks be to God.

18.57 Andrew M Brown

The end of the Mass, the blessing. Ite missa est – “Go, [the Mass] is ended.”

18.50 Andrew M Brown

He spoke to priests, he spoke to bishops, to lay faithful, to young people. His message to ordinary Catholics was an appeal “not only to be examples of faith in public, but also to put the case for the promotion of faith’s wisdom and vision in the public forum. [My emphasis.] Society today needs clear voices which propose our right to live, not in a jungle of self-destructive and arbitrary freedoms, but in a society which works for the true welfare of its citizens and offers them guidance and protection in the face of their weakness and fragility. Do not be afraid to take up this service to your brothers and sisters, and to the future of your beloved nation.”

18.50 Andrew M Brown

Distribution of Holy Communion.

18.46 Andrew M Brown

Note: was the Creed missed out? It’s usually after the homily but sometimes they miss it out at big papal Masses.

18.42 Andrew M Brown

The lambent words, paraphrased, of the centurion: “And the centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed…” Matthew 8:8

18.42 Andrew M Brown

This is the Agnus Dei, in English, new translation, set once again by James MacMillan – all his settings are designed to be sung by ordinary congregations.

18.39 Andrew M Brown

They are about to do the sign of peace I think…

18.38 Andrew M Brown

They’re singing the Lord’s Prayer in Latin. Matthew 6: 9-13.

18.35 Andrew M Brown

The Epiklesis – (“Let your Spirit come upon these gifts”) this prayer is central to the Mass, calling on the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity, to transform the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, not in its outward material appearances but in its inner reality.

This follows the words of Our Lord at the Last Supper, “this is my body”, “this is my blood”, which are reported in both the Gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke, and in the letters of St Paul. These words also appear in the Eucharistic Prayer.

And the Elevation – shows the people what is believed to have been changed into the Body and Blood of Christ, so that they can adore Jesus Christ truly present at the Mass.

18.33 Andrew M Brown

James MacMillan’s setting of the Sanctus is in English. And then the Eucharistic Prayer (2) is in Latin.

18.29 Andrew M Brown

The prayer over the Gifts – in English.

18.27 Andrew M Brown

This – or the bit that’s just passed – is the part of the Mass where, normally, Catholics are reaching into their pockets for the collection money.

18.25 Andrew M Brown

Two ladies in black bring the gifts and return down the steps.

18.16 Andrew M Brown

It’s no wonder young people love this Pope. “Finally, I would like to say a word to you, my dear young Catholics of Scotland. I urge you to lead lives worthy of our Lord [cf. Eph 4:1] and of yourselves.  There are many temptations placed before you every day – drugs, money, sex, pornography, alcohol – which the world tells you will bring you happiness, yet these things are destructive and divisive. There is only one thing which lasts: the love of Jesus Christ personally for each one of you.  Search for him, know him and love him, and he will set you free from slavery to the glittering but superficial existence frequently proposed by today’s society.”

18.10 Andrew M Brown

It is inspiring. He says to the Scottish gathering: “Strive to be worthy of this great tradition [of the great missionaries of Scotland]! Let the exhortation of Saint Paul in the first reading be your constant inspiration: ‘Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering and persevere in prayer.'”(cf. Rom 12:11-12).

18.08 Andrew M Brown

“Saint Ninian, whose feast we celebrate today, was himself unafraid to be a lone voice.  In the footsteps of the
disciples whom our Lord sent forth before him, Ninian was one of the very first Catholic missionaries to bring his fellow
Britons the good news of Jesus Christ.”

18.06 Andrew M Brown

The crowd is silent – completely absorbed in listening to the Pope’s words.

18.05 Andrew M Brown

John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter writes: “If there were any doubt that the battle against a secular ‘dictatorship of relativism’ would be Benedict XVI’s top priority during his September 16-19 trip to the United Kingdom, the pontiff has swiftly removed it. Benedict picked the U.K. as an important front in that war not merely because it is itself a thoroughly secular society, but also because English culture has a global reach.”

18.00 Andrew M Brown

The Pope’s homily may be read here. He is wearing his mitre which signifies his authority to teach.

17.58 Andrew M Brown

A deacon is chanting the Gospel – Luke 10: 1-9 – “The Kingdom of God is very near to you.”

17.55 Andrew M Brown

They’re taking the Gospels from the altar to the lectern in preparation for the Gospel to be read.

17.49 Andrew M Brown

Psalm 22 set by Gerry Fitzpatrick – The Lord is my Shepherd

17.46 Andrew M Brown

Romans 12: 3-13.

17.45 Andrew M Brown

The Gloria, in the new translation of the Mass, beautifully set by James Macmillan who has said: “The Gloria is a huge raising of hearts to Heaven, a great joyous outburst from the very early days of the Church, that again has to have a very different flavour.”

17.43 Andrew M Brown

A note on the Holy Father’s chair: like the altar and the lectern, the chair is fashioned from marble and is the work of Neil Reid. Mr Reid, of Reid Carrara Ltd, served his apprenticeship under Tom MacMillan, who built the altar for John Paul II’s visit in 1982. The artist, Niamh Quail, from Glasgow, was given six weeks to complete the design. She said: “I was told to design a chair and that was about it. I wanted to keep it simple but also to have a Scottish and religious aspect to it as well.

“The design is Celtic, incorporating a cross, within each of the four arms are three interwoven leafs representing the Holy Trinity, with the entire design having no beginning nor end.”

17.35 Andrew M Brown

It is striking how the Pope has been constantly smiling today and the people around him, such as Cardinal O’Brien just now, also seem to smile all the time.

17.35 Andrew M Brown

Fr Tim Finigan notes the reverent silence in this vast crowd: “A very good beginning for the Mass that reflects the wishes of the Holy Father. It didn’t use to happen before Pope John Paul’s Masses. Pope Benedict wishes to remind people above all that they go to Mass to pray.”

17.32 Andrew M Brown

The Holy Father is censing the altar with a swinging thurible releasing a few gusts of smoke that are quickly blown into the atmosphere. Seven candles sit around the altar, the classic “Benedictine” arrangement which is believed to be recalling the menorah of the Jewish tradition.

17.28 Andrew M Brown

The Pope looks strong and happy, his hands clasped together in front of him, as he walks up the steps towards the sanctuary area. The procession has gone in ahead of him with someone holding up the Gospel and placing it on the altar.

17.19 Andrew M Brown

Professor John Haldane thinks the tour has started well and the Holy Father will feel “lifted” this afternoon.

17.12 Andrew M Brown

Someone lifts up a baby, in a pink outfit, and the Pope leans out of the Popemobile and kisses it.

17.03 Andrew M Brown

They’re singing All People that on Earth do Dwell as the Pope passes through the middle of the crowd in the Popemobile with Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow and Mgr Georg Gänswein.

17.01 Andrew M Brown

The Pope has arrived and is meeting dignitaries. Seen from the air, Bellahouston Park is absolutely packed with people and some of them are screaming. “There’s a palpable sense of real excitement here,” says Huw Edwards of the BBC. “I’ve never seen so many cameras and mobile phones flashing in my life.”

16.57 Andrew M Brown

Before the Mass starts, Susan Boyle is expected to sing How Great Thou Art, often voted Britain’s most popular hymn. (That song, incidentally, was also a regular feature of Elvis Presley’s concert repertoire in the 1970s, backed by the Sweet Inspirations and the Stamps – Gospel choirs.) She will also sing her version of I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables.

16.47 Andrew M Brown

Many of the faithful in the crowd are waving yellow flags bearing the logo of the visit.

16.51 Andrew M Brown

Bellahouston Park is a Victorian park in the west of Glasgow, not far from the Rangers football stadium. It was used for the visit of John Paul II in 1982.

16.47 Andrew M Brown

Many of the faithful in the crowd are waving yellow flags bearing the logo of the visit.

16.44 Andrew M Brown

Bellahouston Park appears to be full of people. The crowd extends as far as the eye can see, including up the hill to the side.

16.39 Andrew M Brown

The Guardian has uncovered this picture, which apparently shows the grass at Bellahouston Park being sprayed greener in advance of tonight’s Mass.

16.35 Andrew M Brown

The celebrated Scottish composer James MacMillan composed the settings for the Gloria, the Mystery of Faith, the Sanctus and the Agnus Dei for this Mass this evening. Earlier today he met the Pope. Afterwards he said: “I have just met him! I kissed his ring and told him: ‘The musicians of the Church love you, Holy Father.'”

16.26 Andrew M Brown

They’re fairly covering the ground, throwing up spray from the wet road as they bowl down the deserted M8.

16.16 Andrew M Brown

There are, I think, 14 vehicles in the Pope’s motorcade.

16.13 Andrew M Brown

Over at Bellahouston Park, by the way, Susan Boyle has been entertaining the crowd.

16.10 Andrew M Brown

The Pope’s convoy is speeding west out of Edinburgh towards Bellahouston Park, a journey along the M8 which should take about an hour. Eleven motorcycle outriders are escorting the Holy Father, who appears to be travelling in a BMW. Travelling along with them are probably a dozen other vehicles which look to include at least one Range Rover and several minivans.

16.01 Andrew M Brown

And we’re back.