These FAQs are designed to help schools who are preparing for ‘The Big Assembly’ with some of the basic information about what will be happening. Please be aware that this list is not comprehensive and, for those people who will be at St Mary’s on the day, full ‘joining instructions’ with detailed information about the practical arrnagements, will be sent out shortly.

How do I watch The Big Assembly?
If you are not able to attend The Big Assembly there are still plenty of ways to get involved either at home or in school. On 17th September at St Mary’s there will be a live video feed on www.thepapalvisit.org.uk  so that everyone can watch The Big Assembly LIVE as it happens. 

How can I get involved in The Big Assembly?
In the ‘resources’ section of this site you can find links to resources that provide useful preparation for the Papal Visit. There are powerpoints with reflections, worksheets, documents with interesting information about Pope Benedict XVI as well as calendars that offer a helpful way of counting down the days before the visit and suggest little preparations that can be done each day. So even if you can’t be at St Mary’s on the day, you can still join in! All of the places at ‘The Big Assembly’ have now been allocated but don’t forget that ‘The Big Assembly’ will be broadcast live and we hope that every Catholic school in the country will be watching it. On this site you can download the lyrics to the hymns and start practising before the big day – just click here! 

Who will be at The Big Assembly?
There will be almost 4000 children and young people from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland coming from different primary and secondary schools, sixth form colleges, university colleges and universities. There will be important education representatives from government and other educational organisations as well as Bishops and church leaders. Two choirs and a brass band will be there to provide music for the event and everyone will have the opportunity to sing along with the hymns and get involved!

Can I bring banners or flags?
At St Mary’s every participant will be given a Papal flag to greet Pope Benedict as he arrives so you don’t need to worry about making them yourselves! For security reasons we can’t allow personal banners or flags apart from those we will provide but perhaps you could use those to decorate the coaches you come down in (provided that this is ok with the driver and adult in charge of the group).

What do I need to bring?
You need to bring everything you might need on a school trip including enough food and drink to last you through. Although we are praying for good weather you never know what might happen so remember to bring either sun tan lotion and a sun hat or warm clothes, sensible footwear and a waterproof depending on the weather forecast.  Mobile phones and cameras are all allowed but remember to keep them in a safe and secure place.



  1. What time is The Big Assembly being broadcast from and until?

    How long will Archbishop Nichols’ address on the 10th Sept last approximately?

    Thank you

  2. Hi,
    Our live stream of the big assembly cut out about 10.55am on Friday morning. Is there an option to watch it again? I had a look on thepaplvisit.oorg.uk and it’s not there. Were we the only school that this happened to or was there a wider problem?
    Thank you

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