Pope Benedict's visit will be pastoral, but since he accepted a formal invitation by the UK government it is also considered a State visit. He will not only make a courtesy visit to Her Magesty Queen Elizabeth at her Scottish summer palace, he will also meet with Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and the leader of the opposition.
Pope Benedict will also meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, at Lambeth Palace. No doubt observers will be watching that meeting closely. After the meeting with Williams, the Holy Father will proceed to Westminster Hall. There, in the same hall where St. Thomas More was tried and convicted, Pope Benedict will deliver an address to British academic and religious leaders as well as members of the cultural and business world.
The highlight of the papal visit, however, is meant to be the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman. On the evening September 18th the Holy Father will lead a prayer vigil in London's Hyde Park in preparation for the beatification. The next morning he will fly to Birmingham's Cofton Park to celebrate the beatification Mass for Cardinal Newman. (as an aside, but related to the Holy Father's celebration of Mass during this trip: CNS is reporting
that the Papal Masses will feature some of the new English translation, specifically parts of the Mass usually set to music, such as the Gloria
Access to Papal Events on this trip is tightly controlled to ensure that those who attend papal Masses and prayer services are there out of genuine spiritual desire. People who want to attend an event must register through their parish. They are then assigned a pilgrim group, complete with a group leader and they must travel with that group on the day of the event. On the upside, they will get "pilgrim packs" along with their tickets, a pack of memorabilia, missals, maps, and other materials to make attending an event a spiritual event as much as possible. Of course the Pope will be traveling through the city by car and Pope mobile and people will be able to catch a glimpse of him as he passes.
Salt + Light will be bringing you full live coverage of the visit, airing the events which are televised by the host broadcaster in the UK. Stay tuned to our website in the coming weeks for a detailed broadcast schedule. In the meantime, here is the schedule of the trip that the Vatican released today. Times are local with Eastern Standard Time in parenthesis:
Thursday, September 16th (Rome, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London)
Friday, September 17th (London)
- 8:10 am (2:10 am) Departure from Rome's Ciampino airport,
- 10:30 am (5:30 am) Arrival at Edinburgh Airport. Official welcome.
- 11 a.m. (6 am) Welcoming ceremony at the Royal Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. Visit with Queen Elizabeth II.
- 11:40 am (6:40 am) Meeting with authorities in the park of Holyroodhouse. Speech by Pope.
- 1 pm (8 am) Lunch with members of the papal entourage in the archbishop's residence in Edinburgh.
- 5:15 pm (12:15 pm) Mass in Bellahouston Park in Glasgow. Homily by Pope.
- 8 pm (3 pm) Departure from Glasgow Airport for London.
- 9:25 pm (4:25 pm) Arrival at London's Heathrow Airport.
Saturday, September 18th (London)
- 8 am (3 am) Private Mass in the chapel of the Apostolic Nunciature in Wimbledon.
- 10 am (5 am) Meeting with staff and students of Catholic schools in the chapel and on the sports field of St. Mary's University College in Twickenham. Greeting and speech by Pope.
- 11:30 am (6:30 am) Meeting with leaders of other religions in the Waldegrave Drawing Room of St. Mary's University College. Speech by Pope.
- 4 p.m. (11 am) Courtesy visit with the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace. Speech by Pope.
- 5:10 pm (12:10 pm) Meeting with representatives of British society, the academic, cultural and business spheres, members of the diplomatic corps and religious leaders in Westminster Hall. Speech by Pope.
- 6:15 pm (1:15 pm) Ecumenical celebration in Westminster Abbey. Speech by Pope.
Sunday, September 19th (London, Birmingham, Rome)
- 9 am (4 am) Meeting with the Prime Minister in the residence of the Archbishop of Westminster.
- 9:20 am (4:20 am) Meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister in the Archbishop's residence.
- 9:30 am (4:30 am) Meeting with leaders of the opposition in the Archbishop's residence.
- 10 am (5 am) Mass in Westminster Cathedral. Homily by Pope.
- 5 pm (Noon) Visit to St. Peter's Residence, a home for the elderly. Speech by Pope.
- 6:15 pm (1:15 pm) Prayer vigil for the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman in Hyde Park. Speech by Pope.
- 8 am (3 am) Departure from the Apostolic Nunciature in Wimbledon.
- 8:45 am (3:45 am) Departure by helicopter from Wimbledon Park to Birmingham.
- 9:30 am (4:30 am) Arrival at the heliport near Cofton Park in Birmingham.
- 10 am (5 am) Mass and the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman in Cofton Park. Homily by Pope Benedict. Recitation of the Angelus prayer. Remarks by Pope.
- 1:10 pm (8:10 am) Private visit to the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Birmingham.
- 1:45 pm (8:45 am) Lunch with the bishops of England, Wales and Scotland and with members of the papal entourage in the refectory of Francis Martyn House at Oscott College in Birmingham.
- 4:45 pm (11:45 am) Meeting with the Bishops of England, Wales and Scotland in the chapel of Francis Martyn House.
- 6:15 pm (1:15 pm) Farewell ceremony at Birmingham International Airport. Speech by Pope.
- 6:45 pm (1:45 pm) Departure from Birmingham International Airport.
- 10:30 pm (4:30 pm) Arrival at Rome's Ciampino airport.
On the release of the schedule, Vatican Press Office director Fr. Lombardi spoke with Vatican Radio. Visit HERE
for his thoughts on the trip.
For more on the Pope's visit, check out the official website www.thepapalvisit.org.uk
Photos: Top -- CNS photo/Paul Haring; Bottom -- CNS photo/Marcin Mazur, courtesy of Bishops' Conference of England and Wales