“Hand in Hand”
Hand in hand with the parishioners of St Charles Parish Kelvinside I joined the many thousands of men, women and children who gathered in Bellahuston Park to welcome Pope Benedict XVI to Glasgow.
In his homily Pope Benedict said, “I note with great satisfaction how Pope John Paul’s call to you to walk hand in hand with fellow Christians has led to greater trust and friendship”. For me, hands, told a story of this historic visit where words may have failed.
As pilgrims banded, bagged and joyful, hands reached out to guide us on to trains and directed us along the roads from Ibrox station. Hands halted the traffic, held banners, flags and scarves that proclaimed the good news of Pope Benedict’s visit to Glasgow.
Arriving in Bellahuston the hands of stewards reached out to guide and direct us to our pens or seats! We had arrived at our destinaAtion, our place of pilgrimage and we stood awed and silenced by the splendour of this place, this holy ground, made sacred by this witnessto our Faith. “The work of our hands” was truly celebrated in the crafting, designing and construction of this place of worship. I reflected and gave thanks for the handsoftheartists,sculptors,carpenters,gardners,poets,composers,harpists,musicians,florists and construction workers who together created a work of art – such beauty, for the glory of God and for the joy and hope of the people of Glasgow.
Photographs capture moments and memories that will last long in our hearts but it was hands, reaching out, that for me, wrote a chapter in the pages of this piece of Scottish history. Hands welcoming the stranger, hands assisting the weak and frail bringing gifts to Our Holy Father, hands exchanging the sign of peace, hands receiving Holy Communion from priests under yellow brollies held aloft in the hands of young people. Hands joined in prayer, hands sharing with me, hands waving to friends across the wide expanse of faces, reflecting the nations of the earth, all living in Glasgow in a common bond of faith. These hands holding babies and children aloft capture for me an historic moment Hands of the frail, the old and the young lined, worn ,blistered and broken hands that told a story of suffering , pain, hardship and work.
The sea of arms and hands raised high to welcome the arrival of Pope Benedict were matched only by the flags waved and the voices raised in one shout of joy as he too raised his hand in blessing on the multitudes. “Walk hand in hand ” Pope Benedict invited us to remember that call from John Paul 11 in 1982.Truly this message found an echo in Bellahuston Park 2010.
Today in Glasgow we walked hand in hand with a lightness of step at the dawn of the day. Still hand in hand, though weary of foot, we took “the high road and the low road” to our homes as dusk drew this momentous day to a close. Hearts spoke to hearts as we gathered and held this moment in the palm of our hands.
Visit The Papal Visit website