Arcadian Times



The day the Pope came to visit

On a sunny autumnal morning Strawberry Hill greeted the Pope today as he visited St. Mary's College, Waldegrave Rd. for the Big Assembly. School children from around the country were addressed by Pope Benedict XVI who encouraged them to think along the lines of Saintliness and to look at the bigger picture rather than focus on one narrow aim. The full transcript of his speech can be viewed here. The Pope had a few minutes before he addressed the teachers and religious educators and played tribute to their role in the world and the responsibility they have.

The Pope arrived from the Teddington end of Waldegrave road and a crowd had gathered to greet the Pope. The cavalcade arrived at about 10.15 and the Pope was momentarily visible in the first car as the crowd eagerly greeted the cars as they swept into St. Mary's. Throughout the Pope's visit to St. Mary's it was possible to hear the singing, the speeches and the Pope's addresses as the sound carried to Strawberry Vale and the surrounding streets.


There were a few protestors but they were certainly outnumbered by those who came in good faith to catch a glimpse of the Papal cavalcade on this unique day in Twickenham. The crowd were very good humoured and cheered and chanted "Viva Papa" as the cavalcade swept into St. Mary's. The protestors had reckoned on the Pope arriving from the Radnor Gardens end of Waldegrave Rd. and so their protest may not have been seen at this point.

The Vatican security team

Security was high as one might expect with police lining Waldegrave Rd. and having a presence in the surrounding streets. At no point were there any problems or issues and the police should be commended for the way they handled the visit. Waldegrave Rd. was open for pedestrians and people were free to take up a position within the barriers.

Police line Waldegrave Rd.

The Pope after the outdoor ceremony went to the Waldegrave Room to meet interfaith representatives. Outside people were not sure which way the Pope would leave, the way he came in or perhaps another way? At about 12.50 the Pope left St. Mary's this time passing the protestors as the cavalcade went towards Radnor Gardens and turned left towards Twickenham. The Arcadian Times gambled on the Pope going back the way he had come and so did not see the Pope's departure.

TV camera's loomed over Strawberry Hill

After the Pope had gone the guests left St. Mary's and probably never in the history of Strawberry Hill have so many religious people, nuns, priests and other churchmen been seen wandering the roads and making their way to coaches, cars or Strawberry Hill train station to return home or to go to Lambeth Palace to see the next stage of the Pope's visit.

Twickenham played its role with honour in this papal visit. With helicopters hovering, police lining Waldegrave Rd. occasional roars of police motorcycles passing and the world media congregating with their TV crews for the visit of Pope Benedict XVI, this was certainly a unique day and one that will be remembered by all those present who came to see the Pope at St. Mary's, Twickenham.

Article: Arcadian Times, September 17th, 2010