The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, meeting at the Gillis Centre in Edinburgh today, have confirmed the location for Pope Benedict's Mass in Glasgow. They said in a statement:
"Following a meeting with officials from Glasgow City Council on Friday 4 June the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland is delighted to confirm that Bellahouston Park in Glasgow has been offered as the venue for the 16 September open air Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI. The City Council's Land & Environmental Services Department have confirmed that the park is both suitable for the planned event and available.”
"The Catholic Church welcomes the confirmation given by Glasgow City Council that Bellahouston Park will be available and suitable for the visit of Pope Benedict. The park provides a wonderful venue for what will be a tremendous event, it is a place that has a great resonance for Scottish Catholics many of whom remember fondly the wonderful day in 1982 when Pope John Paul II said mass there. We are extremely grateful to Glasgow City Council for supporting the Pope's visit. The City of Glasgow will enjoy many benefits as a result of the visit."
The Bishops added: “Our parishes will shortly be advised of their allocation of places in the park. Each parish will receive a pro-rata allocation based on their Mass attendance figures. We expect that over half of the mass going population will be able to attend and urge every parish to take up its full allocation to ensure that the Catholic community in Scotland is fully represented on the day. Additionally, many opportunities will exist for large numbers of people to line the route of the Pope’s motorcade through the City of Edinburgh earlier in the day. A St. Ninian’s Day Pageant is planned comprising; parades of schoolchildren and pipe bands ahead of the Papal motorcade.”
The Bishops concluded: “We also take this opportunity to welcome the appointment of Lord Chris Patten as the Government’s coordinator for the visit of Pope Benedict XVI. We offer him our best wishes for his new role and welcome the fact that the Government have appointed such a senior figure to liaise with the Church in the planning and preparation work being undertaken in advance of the Pope’s visit. We hope to be able to discuss with him as soon as possible the preparations being made by the Catholic Church in Scotland.”