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Page last updated at 14:00 GMT, Wednesday, 18 August 2010 15:00 UK
Father David Cain's a man with a Papal mission
Father David Cain
"Can you tell what it is yet?" Father David Cain wonders if The Good Shepherd was his wisest choice of subject.

When the Queen invited Pope Benedict for the first ever Papal State Visit to this country the ripples eventually reached the feet of Father David Cain.

He's the co-ordinator for all those Catholics in the Nottingham Diocese who want to take part in the planned events.

The 112 parishes will take their banners to process in London.

Serried ranks of coaches will ferry the faithful to the the Midlands Mass beatifying Cardinal Newman.

Father David himself doesn't expect to see the Pope during his four day visit: he'll be too busy being a human helpline for all those Catholics on the move.

Mind you, as a frequent visitor to Rome, in the guise of Vocations Director for the Diocese, he's not too concerned about that.

Not that he hasn't a head for history: he well remembers Pope John Paul 11 coming here in 1982, and still has the small brown oval card embossed in gold that was given to all schoolchildren as a souvenir.

This time souvenirs cheerfully encompass everything from flashing candles to fridge magnets and baseball caps.

You might be wryly amused at some of the advice being issued to travellers: don't bring a gazebo, they're warned - or a bike! There are other strictures too, but all in the cause of keeping his Holiness in view for everyone.

Banners are to be the designated size only - to avoid banner envy, says Father David - and no tassles.

A Royal Reception

As this is a state visit, you'd expect the Pope's first engagement to be meeting the Queen - and it is, at Holyroodhouse in Scotland.

That Mary Queen of Scots memorably had a suite of rooms there is a small reminder of a controversial Christian past.

After celebrating Mass in Glasgow the Pope's itinerary will take him south to meetings with Christians of other denominations, leaders of other Faiths, members of the government and educationalists.

Hyde Park will be witness to a huge procession with every parish represented, carefully-measured banners flying.

The climax of the visit, though, is set to be the Beatification Mass of John Henry Newman, for which the Pope will come north again, to the Midlands.

The logistics involved in it all don't appear to have turned Father David prematurely grey.

Mind you, he's a man who likes a challenge - sometimes from left-field. He was, he'll admit, a recent contestant on BBC1's Total Wipeout.

Certainly it's game on, as all involved count down to September 16th and take their places for this particular piece of history-in-the-making.





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