A personal account of the Mass in Bellahouston Park, written by Kevin McHugh, aged 10, a pupil of St Mungo’s Primary School, Glasgow.
I was very happy when we got on the train to go to Bellahouston Park. The Police Officers gave us directions when we got there and made sure we had our green wrist bands on. My Mum and my brother were carrying two cool bags with food and drinks and me and my two sisters were carrying our pilgrim packs and Mass books. My family found a great place to set up where we had a great view of the screen so we put down our blankets and a chair. It was my brother, Darren’s 18th birthday so it was a very special treat for him. At that time the Pope was still in Edinburgh having a wee rest.
Soon Michelle McManus came on the big screen and she sang a beautiful song that I really liked. People were clapping and cheering for her. When Susan Boyle came on, everybody started cheering, jumping up and down and waving their flags. She sounded like an opera singer the way she was hitting those really high notes. I think she seemed like a nice and gentle person. Then we heard that Pope Benedict had left Edinburgh.
When all the priests started to walk by in twos, I was looking for priests that I knew and I saw Fr. Paul Francis but he did not see me. Some of the priests were waving and taking pictures of us.
Next when we heard that Pope Benedict was passing the Fort and he would soon be with us, people were cheering and waving their flags. Soon he came into the park. He got into the pope mobile and came around the park. Everybody started running towards him with excitement.
I saw a man holding a baby up. She was wearing pink. When Pope Benedict passed, the man handed the baby into the pope mobile. The Pope took the baby, kissed her twice, once on the forehead and once on the side of her head before he handed her back. I held up my phone really high and I saw Pope Benedict’s face and also the top of the pope mobile. I got seven seconds when I recorded it. I felt so happy that I had actually seen him and that I got seven seconds on my phone. If I ever get another phone, I will keep on sending it to my new phone because I want to keep it forever. It is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
I noticed when I got into the park that there were loads of clouds in the sky but when the Pope came, the sky was clear blue. There was not a cloud in sight. It was really, really sunny and bright.We had three minutes silence to pray before the mass started. This part was the best time of the whole day for me because Pope Benedict was there and I was praying with him too. I prayed for my family, my friends and all my teachers and for all the people who could not see the Pope.
When the mass started, we sang lovely hymns and I followed the words in the hymn book that me and my mum shared. I was really excited because it was all leading up to Holy Communion. I felt a tear in my eye and felt a bit weird because I did not expect to cry at that moment.
Pope Benedict spoke to all the people and at the end, he spoke to all the young people in Scotland and told us to stay close to God. I felt quite emotional, quite happy but quite sad at the same time because I felt like it was happening that second and it would never happen again.
Just before Holy Communion, I saw loads of yellow umbrellas coming slowly in straight lines all around the park and I was wondering what they were for. I did not want to disturb my Mum to ask her about it because she looked as if she was saying a prayer. Next a boy with an umbrella stopped beside me and I knew then that it was somebody holding an umbrella over a Eucharistic Minister. I was first to receive Holy Communion because I was right next to them and there was a long queue behind me. When I looked at the screen, I could see the Pope giving out Holy Communion. I was thinking to myself that people from around the world were asking Pope Benedict to pray for them.
Near the end, when Pope Benedict blessed us all, I held up my rosary beads that my mum bought me a long time ago so they could get blessed too. I was so happy because I will always have something to remember him by.
The pipe bands were playing when I was leaving the park and I felt so proud of them. I liked the song they were playing because it was lovely.
Outside the park, we phoned my Dad to come and pick us up. I was quite tired but really happy. That night, I had a dream that I was in the third row at Bellahouston and that I could see the Pope really close to me. He said a prayer and he said it for me.