“HANDSHAKE of history”, announced our newspaper on June 1, 1982.

It is 40 years this week since Pope John Paul II visited Bellahouston Park, in what was hailed as an important moment in the city’s religious heritage.

Amidst photos of the huge crowds who turned out to welcome him, we reported: “It is a moment of history in Scotland when a simple handshake spans four centuries of religious difference.

“In the shadow of the statue of John Knox, Pope John Paul II, the first Pontiff ever to step on Scottish soil, was greeted by the Right Rev Prof John McIntyre, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

“In this meeting of men of two faiths the words exchanged were more than mere pleasantries, They expressed a genuine hope of bridging some of the gulf that exists between their churches.”

Glasgow Times:

Our reporter painted a picture of the scene in Bellahouston Park.

“I saw the tens and hundreds of thousands arrive in their droves, most looking set for a picnic with their folding chairs and ice-boxes full of goodies for the long wait,” said the writer.

“Some, like waiting for the winter sales, had overnighted in their sleeping bags for a choice spot.

“It had been carnival. Women ran across the road to the parked van to get ice cream for the kids.

“From the high altar, after the ascent of a staircase decked with flowers and plants magically conjured into their fullest bloom, John Paul addressed his now subdued and awe-struck multitude.”

The reporter remarked upon the VIPs in attendance but added: “It was the people’s day. And the Pope was there for them. He was greeted with the deep-throated roar that is the background to the appearance of a Scottish team at Hampden.

READ MORE: 'A Mortons roll is a masterpiece' - chef Gary Mclean on Glasgow recipes which inspired his new book

“But his appearance gave the carnival a completely new dimension. Not great in stature, tired after a tour that would have exhausted a rugby team, the Pope commanded a tremendous stillness. The solemnity outmatched the natural joy for a quarter of a million Roman Catholics – with a good mix of Protestants among them – as the Pontiff celebrated Holy Mass.

“The Pope must experience it wherever he goes, but I doubt he will forget his reception in the west of Scotland.”

Glasgow Times: The Pope in Glasgow, 1982

People lined the route to the park from as far afield as Bearsden.

“St Andrew’s College in Bearsden took on a carnival atmosphere as hundreds waited in the sun,” we reported. “Many arrived in the colourfully decorated college grounds at first light to ensure the best vantage point.

“The tree-lined avenue between the helipad and college buildings, along which the Pope drove – was a prime stance for the early birds. One of the earliest arrivals was Bearsden schoolgirl Kathleen Dyer.”

Glasgow Times: The Pope in Glasgow, 1982

Kathleen, 15, had been at Murrayfield the previous day to see the Pope speak, and she told our reporters: “It was a tremendous experience and I am looking forward to getting a much closer look today.”

“Mrs Catherine McCafferty of Clydebank was on station by 8.30am. She positioned her deckchair inches from the ribboned tape.

“’I am 82,’ she said. ‘I don’t want to miss a minute of this, it is the thrill of a lifetime.’”