Thursday, 16 September 2010

Of Edinburgh and Czestochowa

I watched Pope Benedict's arrival at Edinburgh Airport through to his popemobile drive through Princes Street on the BBC. The BBC did it well, I thought, and the crowds were out in great numbers. Benedict had a nice chat with the Queen, some of which could be picked up on the mikes, and the Pope's opening address was good. I'm going to take a look at Mass in an hour's time from Bellahouston Park in Glasgow. It's looking good for the visit...
The second day of our pilgrimage to Poland took us to the National Shrine of Our Lady at Czestochowa. It was the Feast of Our Lady's Birthday and the place was HEAVING. We had to make our way through the devout throngs in a rather undignified way. Eventually we celebrated Mass in the Sacred Heart Chapel, which slightly resembled an obstacle course for a vestment-wearing, book-carrying, shoulder-bag-swinging priest like me.
A very jolly religious called Fr Simon gave us a great tour of the whole sanctuary, including, of course, the Chapel containing the centre of devotion, the Icon of Our Lady. We had to keep moving through the Chapel, but it was enough to convince me of the very special nature of the place. The photo is not mine, alas, but captures the ebony, silver and gold decoration of this wonderful place. I decided to keep a look out for a copy of the picture which captured what I felt at the Chapel, and spotted one later on in the trip, at Pope John Paul's birthplace. It became the group's gift to me...

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