64 days to go until Pope Benedict XVI visits England and Scotland

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The weekly audio update from the desk of the Papal Visit Co-ordinator, Mgr Andrew Summersgill, looks at the distribution of invitations to Papal Events, and the visit of the Papal Master of Ceremonies, Mgr Guido Marini.

You can listen to the audio by clicking on the MP3 player on this web page:


Father, can you explain where we’re up to with the distribution of the invitations to the Papal Events?

Mgr Andrew Summersgill: Certainly, well in England and Wales we last week sent out to dioceses suggested allocations for the two larger gatherings that take place in England: the beatification of Cardinal Newman in Birmingham and the Prayer Vigil in Hyde Park. And we’ve sent out to the person appointed by the bishop in each diocese an allocation which is more or less based on the average weekly Mass attendance in that diocese, with some weighting towards geography. So that for the diocese of Birmingham for example there is a larger allocation for the beatification, and for the Hyde Park Vigil there is a larger allocation for the London dioceses. It is now up to each Diocesan Coordinator and the people in the diocese to decide how they wish to divide them out, [to decide] which is the most fair way, and the most convenient way for them to do that. Certainly for the beatification that really does depend on coach party sizes, so roughly in groups of 49 or 50. And from what I can see many dioceses have sent those out already. Others will be sending them out in the next week or so. And then those who would like to go are being invited to sign up so that the arrangements can be made as soon as possible. In Scotland I think the process is more directly with parishes rather than with dioceses so there is a slightly different system there which is being coordinated through an office in the Scots Bishops’ Conference.

And I understand that you had a visit from Mgr Guido Marini, the Papal Master of Ceremonies, how did that go?

Mgr AS: That went very well, Mgr Marini and his three assistants were here last week, together with Fr Paul Conroy who is coordinating the Visit in Scotland, and Mgr Philip Moger who has oversight of all the liturgies on behalf of both Bishops’ Conferences. We spent just under four days visiting the different places within the Pope’s itinerary – where he will be celebrating Mass, for the Prayer Vigil, and also those other specific moments of prayer within the visit. That of course includes Westminster Abbey as well where there will be evening prayer. And we went through quite detailed preparations both with the people who are looking after those things in those places, and also then with ourselves and Mgr Marini and his team, finalising the texts which we have been discussing over the last few months through meetings here and meetings in Rome and of course by regular email contact as well. And we have finalised those so that the Holy Father’s Missal can be prepared in Rome and we can make the final preparations for the prayer book here which will be distributed and published to coincide with the Visit. So it was a good week and we did a lot of work, and things are moving ahead very nicely with that.



Further information

Attending events


Updated Papal Visit itinerary