The Bishops of Scotland wish to encourage schools and families to prepare children in advance of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI, to involve them in praying for its success, to celebrate the occasion joyfully and to participate in various ways in the events taking place from Thursday 16th to Sunday 19th September.
The information below updates earlier information on various events taking place.
The St Ninian’s Day Parade is intended to mark the historic occasion of Pope Benedict XVI’s arrival in Scotland on the feast of St Ninian, who was first to bring Christianity to Scotland. Schools and community groups have been invited to line the route in Edinburgh’s famous Princes Street where thousands of Saltire flags will be distributed to create a sea of blue. This will be a fantastic opportunity to celebrate St Ninian and welcome Pope Benedict XVI to Scotland.
The St Ninian’s Day Parade will begin about 11am and will consist of:
- children from all Scottish schools named in honour of St Ninian
- Pipe Bands from around Scotland
- historical characters from 1600 years of Christian history.
The Papal motorcade will follow the parade, travelling from Regents Road slowly along Princes Street and up Lothian Road. This will end by 12.30 or thereabouts.
Schools planning to take pupil groups as spectators are encouraged to register their plans on-line, using this link: www.stniniansday.co.uk/pages/spectators.php They are advised to plan their arrival in Ediburgh by 10am.
Given that there will be live TV coverage of most of the morning’s events, schools should be able to involve pupils in watching the Pope’s arrival in Edinburgh, his reception by the Queen at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and the St Ninian’s Day Parade itself.
Secondary schools are encouraged to help pupils understand that, in undertaking the journey to Bellahouston Park in Glasgow, they will be going on pilgrimage and that this will be a privileged opportunity to be present with the Holy Father and fellow pilgrims in praying together and celebrating the Church’s liturgy.
Schools which have booked transport arrangements centrally should be contacted directly in the coming week by the coach company who will advise them of the numbers of coaches and of the time for departure.
A supply of Pilgrim Packs will be sent to each school and these will include the Pilgrim Passes which should be distributed to pilgrims as they are preparing to leave on their journey. Admission to the park will only be gained when pilgrims arrive at a security point with their Pilgrim Pass and accompanied by the Pilgrim Leader whose details (and photograph) are provided on the Pilgrim Leader’s Form.
Secondary schools providing S6 pupils to act as Communion Stewards are asked to brief these pupils on their duties, using a Powerpoint presentation which will be available on the SCES website during w/b 6th September.
On Friday 17th September the Holy Father will participate in a Big Assembly with pupils from Catholic schools across the UK. It is hoped that all schools can make appropriate arrangements to enable hundreds of thousands of pupils to join the assembly by connecting to live streaming of the event on the Papal Visit website from 10.15 to 11.15am www.thepapalvisit.org.uk.
Thanks to the support of schools and Dioceses, a group of 140 Scottish pilgrims, with young people from every Diocese in Scotland, will make the journey to join the Big Assembly in person. On Thursday 16th September, while the Holy Father is in Edinburgh and Glasgow, three coaches will transport this group to Twickenham where they will stay overnight before attending the Big Assembly in St Mary’s University College, Twickenham and then travelling home. This should be a wonderful experience for these young people who will be close to the Pope to hear his words and to join with him in prayer.
You are advised to check this website regularly to keep in touch with arrangements which will emerge in the coming weeks. There will be further bulletins from SCES before the start of the new term, advising further of arrangements.
This is the ninth in a series of news bulletins designed to keep schools (and others) informed of arrangements for the Papal Visit. To see previous bulletins, click here.