Pope comes to Portugal

British police officers could be in Portugal in June for the Pope’s visit, shadowing the local force in preparation for the pontiff’s visit to the UK later in the year.

Around a million Portuguese Catholics are expected to attend the three Masses that Pope Benedict XVI will hold in Portugal on May 11 in Lisbon, May 13 in Fátima and May 14 in Porto.

While Lisbon’s central square is geared up to receive 150,000 people, the biggest attendance is expected in Fátima, where up to about half a million pilgrims can be accommodated.

On the last day of the visit, the Eucharist will be celebrated at Avenida dos Aliados in Porto and is expected to attract around 250,000 people.

According to Portuguese daily newspaper Correio da Manhã, British security forces will join the Portuguese security services during the visit.

Bishop Carlos Azevedo, co-ordinator of the organising committee, said they will be in the country to “learn from the Portuguese security”.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police told the Algarve Resident: “I cannot confirm that British police will be coming to Portugal. However, it is not unusual for British police to shadow other forces abroad when preparing for a large event such as a visit by the Pope.”

For full information about the event and programme visit (available in English).