Did you know that, in a mere 11 hours, Pope Benedict will be in plane over the Mediterranean, en route to Spain? You’re not alone if this is the first you’ve heard of it. But if the Holy Father doesn’t figure into your plans this weekend, you will have missed one of the most visually arresting papal visits.
Shepherd One lands in the city of Santiago de Compostela, heart of the rugged region of Galicia on northwestern coast. The city’s cathedral is the final destination of the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James), one of the world’s longest and most mythical walking pilgrimage routes. The Pope then travels to Barcelona on the opposite coast. There, he will consecrate La Sagrada Familia (Church of the Holy Family), a jaw-dropping Art Nouveau masterpiece crowned with 18 spires.
Like you, I’ll be watching from afar, seated in the S+L studio with our guest commentator Fr. Francisco Fernandez Siles from St. Thomas Aquinas parish in Toronto. Alicia Ambrosio, our Vatican correspondent, will be significantly closer to the action in Rome.
Closest of all will be Carol Glatz. The Rome correspondent for Catholic News Service will be flying with the Pope. The flight itself is significant, as the Pope customarily walks back a few rows to where the journalists are seated to answer four or five questions. When the plane touches down at 6:30 am ET, Glatz will then shadow his movements as one of the privileged few journalists accredited to the Vatican press corps.
S+L will be connecting with Glatz periodically over the weekend. In the meantime, here she shares about the final few hours for Vatican journalists preparing for the trip.