Preparation is in top gear for the reception of Pope Benedict XVI who arrives London on Friday in continuation of his current tour of United Kingdom, which commenced on Thursday September 16, this year.
An estimated 125,000 well-wishers lined the streets of Edinburghin Scotland to catch a glimpse of the Pope at the start of his state visit to the UK.
To peak his visit, Pope Benedict XVI held a very special open air Mass for about 80,000 well-wishers in Bellahouston Park in Glasgow, Scotland as thousands besieged the venue of his reception to have a glimpse of the Head of Roman Catholic Church.
Many were so delighted as they claimed they never thought they would one day get to see the pope. The last visit by a pontiff was when John Paul II came on a pastoral visit 28 years ago.
Hundreds of school pupils took part in a St Ninian’s Day parade down Princes Street to welcome him.
The visit is the first by a pontiff since Pope John Paul II came to Scotland in 1982.
Lothian and Borders Police confirmed at least 125,000 people had watched the procession along Princes Street towards Morningside.
It was the meeting of like-minds as Queen Elizabeth (11) later met the hope as they exchanged traditional pleasantries in a unique display of solidarity.
There had been verbal brick- bats and missiles of denunciation as the British Catholic sect upheld the visit plans..
In his homily, the Pope warned against people who seek “to exclude religious belief from public discourse”.
Earlier, he urged the UK to resist “more aggressive forms of secularism”.
In his sermon in Glasgow, the Pope said that those individuals who wished to exclude religion even went as far as painting it “as a threat to equality and liberty”.
But he insisted: “Religion is in fact a guarantee of authentic liberty and respect.”
The pontiff also said that a “dictatorship of relativism” threatened “to obscure the unchanging truth about man’s nature, his destiny and his ultimate good”.
He added: “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.”
He also urged the young Catholics of Scotland to resist the “destructive and divisive” temptations of drugs, money, sex, pornography and alcohol.
The Pope travelled to Glasgow from Edinburgh, where he was welcomed on his visit to the UK by the Queen at Holyroodhouse.
On his arrival at Bellahouston Park, the Pope was given a traditional Scottish welcome from the Strathclyde Police pipe band.
However, as the Pope arrives London on Friday, the Mayor, Boris Johnson has declared Friday City congestion charge free. H e will be among the entourage to welcome the Pope to London.
- 16 September: Arrives in Edinburgh; Open-air Mass in Glasgow; Flies to London
- 17 September: Meets Archbishop of Canterbury; Address at Westminster Hall; Service at Westminster Abbey
- 18 September: Mass at Westminster Cathedral; Open-air vigil in Hyde Park
- 19 September: Beatification Mass at Cofton Park Birmingham; Meets bishops of England, Scotland and Wales; Leaves for Rome.