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UK papal visit background: St. Ninian’s Day

September 13, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI arrived in the United Kingdom on September 16, the feast of St. Ninian, the bishop who first brought the Gospel to the Picts in Scotland. According to the current (2004) edition of the Roman Martyrology, St. Ninian died around the year 432.

St. Bede the Venerable recounts:

The southern Picts received the true faith by the preaching of Bishop Ninian, a most reverend and holy man of the British nation, who had been regularly instructed at Rome in the faith and mysteries of the truth; whose episcopal see, named after St. Martin the bishop, and famous for a church dedicated to him (wherein Ninian himself and many other saints rest in the body), is now in the possession of the English nation.

Following his late morning state visit with Queen Elizabeth II at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Pope Benedict will take part in a St. Ninian’s Day parade in Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital.

After lunch at Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s residence, the Pontiff will travel to Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, where he will celebrate a 5:15 Mass for an estimated 100,000 at Bellahouston Park. The park, which opened in 1896, was also the site of a Mass during Ven. John Paul II’s 1982 visit to Scotland.

Following the Mass, Pope Benedict will fly to London, where he is expected to arrive at 9:25 in the evening.


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