Pope arrives for open-air mass in Glasgow park

Bellahouston Park in Glasgow was awash with colour this afternoon as thousands of flag-waving pilgrims welcomed Pope Benedict XVI for an open-air Mass.

More than 60,000 gathered in the south side of the city, waving Saltire and yellow and white Vatican flags.



The Pope touched down in Edinburgh earlier today at the start of a four-day state Papal visit to the UK.



He met the Queen at the Palace of Holyroodhouse before being driven through the streets of the city before a watching crowd of some 125,000.



It is the first Papal visit since John Paul II came to Scotland 28 years ago when 250,000 turned out to hear the "rock-star" Pope.



Pope Benedict entered the park to cheers of the crowd, organ music and hymns.



As he made a circuit of the park in his Popemobile, under heavy security, he was allowed to stop.



The window of the vehicle was rolled down and the Pontiff kissed a baby dressed in a pink romper suit.



Shortly afterwards, a pink-clad toddler was held aloft from the crowd and again the Pope stopped and kissed the child twice.



The Pope smiled and waved to the crowds as he passed slowly through in the special vehicle, which was flanked by security officers.



Pilgrims held up their mobile phones to capture the event on film. Others waved and cheered as he passed by in bright sunshine.



The crowd sang 'All people that on earth do dwell' as he drove by, then moved on to other songs. They then waited in silence as the Pope was vested for the mass.



At the end of the opening hymn Mario Conti, the Archbishop of Glasgow, welcomed the Pope to Glasgow, Scotland and the UK.



He said: "Welcome to the United Kingdom, whose monarch earlier today in the name of all its citizens welcomed you.



"We, Holy Father, echo that welcome; we form a community of faith obedient to the Gospel, which has been preached in these islands for over 15 centuries - before the land to our south became England, and that on which you stand, Scotland.



He continued: "You come to us on the actual feast of our first-named missionary Saint Ninian, who, according to a reliable tradition, received his education in Rome and came back ordained to proclaim the Gospel of Christ and to establish His Church.



"From Rome also came Saint Augustine, sent by Pope Gregory the Great, your predecessor, whose arrival in Kent coincided with the death on the Holy Island of Iona of Saint Columba, who, with his fellow Irish missionaries, evangelised our Scottish Highlands and Islands.



"Already a Briton had taken the faith from these shores to those of Ireland, whose citizens recognise in Saint Patrick their great apostle.



He added: "Welcome, Holy Father, to this spot where your venerable predecessor John Paul II challenged us for the future to walk hand in hand, and whereby we have created a warmth of friendship with which Christians throughout the United Kingdom embrace you today in your visit to the lands we love and the communities we serve.



"Finally we welcome you, Holy Father, as the Servant of Christ Jesus and the Servant of the Servants of God.



"Cead Mille Failte: A hundred thousand welcomes!"



The sun continued to shine as the Pope sat down to deliver the homily.



He said: "The Kingdom of God is very near to you. With these words of the Gospel we have just heard, I greet all of you with great affection in the Lord.



"Truly the Lord's Kingdom is already in our midst.



"At this Eucharistic celebration in which the Church in Scotland gathers around the altar in union with the Successor of Peter, let us reaffirm our faith in Christ's word and our hope - a hope which never disappoints - in his promises.



"I warmly greet Cardinal O'Brien and the Scottish Bishops; I thank, in particular, Archbishop Conti for his kind words of welcome on your behalf; and I express my deep gratitude for the work that the British and Scottish governments and the Glasgow city fathers have done to make this occasion possible."



He made reference to visit of his predecessor.



He added: "It is with some emotion that I address you, not far from the spot where my beloved predecessor Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass nearly thirty years ago with you and was welcomed by the largest crowd ever gathered in Scottish history.



"Much has happened in Scotland and in the Church in this country since that historic visit.



"I note with great satisfaction how Pope John Paul's call to you to walk hand in hand with your fellow Christians has led to greater trust and friendship with the members of the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church and others.



"Let me encourage you to continue to pray and work with them in building a brighter future for Scotland based upon our common Christian heritage.



"In today's first reading we heard Saint Paul appeal to the Romans to acknowledge that, as members of Christ's body, we belong to each other and to live in respect and mutual love."



There were tears in the eyes of many elderly pilgrims as the Pope passed them on his route through the park.



Youngsters wearing Bless The Pope headbands waved excitedly at the Pontiff while others scrambled to take photographs to capture the moment.



Grandmother Mary Galbraith held her young grandson aloft so he could get a better look.



The 69-year-old, who travelled from Livingston, West Lothian, said the last time she saw the Pope at Bellahouston she was with her four children who were about the same age her grandchildren are now.



She said: "I'm absolutely thrilled. To experience this twice in a lifetime is so special."



Eighteen-month old Alexander Frame was one of those blessed by the Pope on his arrival at Bellahouston.



He suffers from a rare degenerative condition which doctors believe is neuroaxonal dystrophy, for which there is no cure.



Parents Alan and Kathleen, from Glasgow's Clarkston area, asked Bishop Philip Tartaglia of the Paisley diocese if he could arrange for the blessing to take place.



The Bishop baptised Alexander, the couple's only child.



Car salesman Alan said: "This means so much to my wife and I. We are so grateful and we can't thank Bishop Tartaglia enough for all his help.



"To be able to have Alexander blessed by the Pope is really special to us and the whole family."



Alexander was not one of the two children kissed by the Pontiff as he made his way around the crowd.



The Pope said the "lay faithful" had an important role to play nowadays.



He said: "The evangelisation of culture is all the more important in our times, when a "dictatorship of relativism" threatens to obscure the unchanging truth about man's nature, his destiny and his ultimate good.



"There are some who now seek to exclude religious belief from public discourse, to privatise it or even to paint it as a threat to equality and liberty.



"Yet religion is in fact a guarantee of authentic liberty and respect, leading us to look upon every person as a brother or sister.



"For this reason I appeal in particular to you, the lay faithful, in accordance with your baptismal calling and mission, not only to be examples of faith in public, but also to put the case for the promotion of faith's wisdom and vision in the public forum.



"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.



"Do not be afraid to take up this service to your brothers and sisters, and to the future of your beloved nation."



He also had a message for the young Catholics of Scotland.



He said: "Finally, I would like to say a word to you, my dear young Catholics of Scotland. I urge you to lead lives worthy of our Lord and of yourselves.



"There are many temptations placed before you every day - drugs, money, sex, pornography, alcohol - which the world tells you will bring you happiness, yet these things are destructive and divisive.



"There is only one thing which lasts: the love of Jesus Christ personally for each one of you.



"Search for him, know him and love him, and he will set you free from slavery to the glittering but superficial existence frequently proposed by today's society. Put aside what is worthless and learn of your own dignity as children of God."

Suggested Topics
News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn