Edinburgh pupils overjoyed after surprise meeting with Pope


By Cara Sulieman

PRIMARY school children in Edinburgh got an unexpected meeting with the Pope when he went on an impromptu walk about today.

All 417 pupils at St Peter’s RC Primary School were due to greet his Holiness with a song as he entered Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s house in the Morningside area of the city.

But instead of going straight into the building, Benedict XVI decided to cross the road and meet some of the children and staff from the school, which is on nearby Falcon Road.

Therese Laing, the head teacher at St Peter’s, said the children were “absolutely delighted”?by the surprise turn of events.

She said: “We were expecting to just sing a song to welcome him.

“We thought he was going into the Cardinal’s house for a rest and we would be away again.

“So when he came walking out of the Cardinal’s drive it was just so lovely and impromptu.

“He saw the children and it was as if he wanted to spend time with them.

“It was very unexpected.

“He met some children and staff and shook their hands.

“The children were absolutely delighted and some of them have said they don’t want to wash their hands ever again.

“He did bless some of the children as well and touched their heads.

“For them to see him in real life was just an amazing experience for them. It has been such a special day for us at St Peter’s.

“I shook hands with him as well – it was just lovely.”?

Ms Laing said that the whole school had been preparing for the visit for weeks, with the kids learning all about the Papal visit.

She added: “For the last two or three weeks all of the children have been learning about the Pope – that’s been their topic.

“In the morning we had our assembly before we went and spoke about how wonderful and exciting the visit was and said a couple of prayers for the Pope.

“The children know that it’s such a special day for them.

“All the children were just so desperate to see him.

“We took all the children into the hall in the morning and watched the Pope on the television, watched his speech.

“You could’ve heard a pin drop.”?

The Pope arrived at Cardinal O’Brien’s house in Morningside at 1pm after travelling from Holyroodhouse in his Popemobile.