, Sep 23, 2010 / 12:56 am (CNA) .- Speaking for the Bishops' Conference of Scotland, Cardinal Keith O'Brien and Archbishop of Glasgow Mario Conti expressed their “heartfelt gratitude to all who made the visit of our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI to our country such a happy and memorable day.” The letter expressed appreciation for “months of hard work” on the part of “countless agencies and thousands of individuals.”
“To all of the people of our beloved Scotland, who made the successor of Peter an honorary Scot for the day, we say: 'Thank you from the bottom of our heart'.”
Both the cardinal and the archbishop expressed special gratitude to Queen Elizabeth II, whose visit with Pope Benedict at her Scottish residence of Holyrood Palace was considered a historic highlight of the trip. They also praised the support of the U.K. government, the Scottish government, and city administrations of Edinburgh and Glasgow, for their cooperation in the official state visit.
A total of 200,000 people turned out to see the Pope during his single day in Scotland, September 16. Cardinal O'Brien and Archbishop Conti noted the contributions of police, emergency and health workers to the security and safety of the massive event, as well as the transport providers and event managers of the Pope's open-air Mass in Bellahouston Park.
They described Scottish press coverage of Pope Benedict's visit as “very positive,” grounded in a desire to convey the Pope's message to the Scottish people.
Finally, they gave thanks to people in all quarters of the Church whose efforts had made the visit a success: “all the priests, deacons, religious and lay people who helped plan and support the visit,” particularly pilgrimage leaders, teachers who accompanied pupils to see the Pope, and other volunteers who worked on the day of the visit.
“In a special way,” the cardinal and archbishop noted, “we wish to thank the members of other churches and faith communities who joined us in welcoming the Holy Father to Scotland.” They described the visit as an important reminder to “all those watching, that the Catholic faith in Scotland lives and flourishes even in these often faithless times.”
“The planning, preparation and forethought which went into each step of this Apostolic journey were quite immense,” they stated, “and it is thanks to the contributions of so many that the day was such a resounding success … of which all Scotland can be proud.”