I wonder how many hours the liturgists spent pouring over their books to decide the music for this Mass. Liturgy is a strange thing, and things you think might work don’t always come together whereas something that was not expected to take a high-profile position somehow touches the heart and soul of those assembled. For me it was the Offertory song, entitled a Celtic Invocation, a paraphrase of the hymn I know as St Patrick’s Breastplate.
Christ be near at either hand,
Christ behind, before me stand.
Christ with me where-e’er I go.
Christ around, above, below.
The plain words and simple Celtic melody wove a spell in the evening sunshine here in Glasgow. I was fortunate in being able to sit with a group of schoolchildren from St Andrew’s School, Kirkcaldy. They were still cheerful, in spite of the fact that they had been originally allocated to Zone 1, and were then moved from there because more wheelchairs arrived than expected. I am delighted that the pilgrims in wheelchairs were so numerous, and were not put off by the lengthy wait in the park. Meanwhile the youngsters were eager to talk the the Media, and several of the children gave interviews to various TV camera-crew from around the world, much to their teachers’ amusement.
An honour for some of those youngsters was that they were able to carry the Yellow umbrellas that were used to mark the positions for the distribution of Holy Communion. I did not envy them when they had to take off their anoraks, in order to show their school uniform beneath. Although it was marvellous sunshine, it was also extremely cold out there.
I will leave it to others to comment on the text of the Pope’s homily. Similarly I need time to digest the text of his speech to the Queen and her speech to him, copies of which I received earlier.
The crowds are cheering now, waving their flags and singing their hearts out. Earlier they sang the Te Deum to the tune of Ode to Joy, a song I always associate with Beethoven’s 9th. I heard that the Holy Father likes Mozart, but lets hope he likes Beethoven too. Later Susan Boyle returns, and sings Make Me a Channel of Your Peace. This is the song she sings for the Pope and my prayer is that he will, indeed be, a channel of Christ’s peace to all of us here in the United Kindom during this visit.