At the start of the Mass at Bellahouston Park tomorrow, Archbishop Mario
Conti (as the Archbishop of the diocese in which the celebration will
take place) will formally welcome the Pope to Scotland and the UK on
behalf of the Catholic Church in these islands. The text of his welcome
Welcome to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
from the Most Reverend Mario Conti, Archbishop of Glasgow
Bellahouston Park 16th September 2010
Most Holy Father,
Praised be Jesus Christ!
Welcome to Glasgow, entitled by one of your predecessors Specialis
Filia Romanae Ecclesiae - the Special Daughter of the Roman Church.
Welcome to Scotland, to the whole of which another of your predecessors
extended that coveted title. 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 fifteen
centuries - before the land to our south became England, and that on
which you stand Scotland.
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
British missionary had taken the faith from these shores to those of
Ireland whose citizens recognise in Saint Patrick their great apostle.
Monastic life flourished in our lands, giving us such great saints as
Aidan of Lindisfarne and the Venerable Bede.
Centuries later, at the time of the Reformation, devoted men and women
were martyred on account of their faith. In this very city Saint John
Ogilvie was hanged for his allegiance to the Holy See. Holy Father, in
addition to Saint Andrew its patron, Scotland holds dear the memory of a
saintly queen, Margaret, whose son David revived the ancient bishoprics.
In England, and well beyond, men and women admire Thomas More,
Chancellor of the Realm, who suffered death for obedience to his
conscience; while another great Englishman whom your holiness means to
beatify, John Henry Newman, preached on the primacy of a conscience
responsive to the truth.
Welcome, Holy Father, to this spot where your venerable predecessor
John Paul II challenged us Ã¢â‚¬Å“for the future to walk hand in handÃ¢â‚¬ , 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!
Cav Ronnie Convery
Director of Communications
Archdiocese of Glasgow
196 Clyde Street
Tel: 0141 226 5898
Fax: 0141 225 2600