The Catholic Archdicese of Birmingham Archives

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PVB - Papal Visit and Beatification, 2010

Dates: 2009-2010

Number of records in this collection: 54


The Mass of Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman was originally planned prior to knowledge of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Britain. Initially it was thought that the Mass would take place in Birmingham (the home diocese of Cardinal Newman) rather than Rome and that the Prefect of the Congregation of Saints would preside. This Mass, the organisers agreed, would attract significant interest at home and abroad and the NEC (National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham) was chosen to host the event. Pope Benedict XVI, however, made it known that he would like to preside over the beatification and that this would be the climax of a Pastoral Visit to England and Scotland, which would also be the first official State Visit of a Pope to the United Kingdom. As a result the principal organisation of the Visit was taken over by the United Kingdom's Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The historic Visit, planned for the 16-19 September 2010, would attract global interest and naturally necessitated a change in venue for the Beatification Mass. Coventry Airport (the site of the Holy Mass of Pentecost presided over by Pope John Paul II on the 30th May 1982) was originally put forward as the location for the Beatification Mass, but was soon altered for practical reasons and Cofton Park, Birmingham, became the final venue. The park had a capacity for 70,000 pilgrims and had easy access to the sites of other events in Birmingham, including the Oratory of St Philip Neri and Oscott College. This collection focusses principally on the organisation of the beatification, as well as the wider Birmingham visit. Other elements relating to the organisation of the Papal Visit in general are present to a lesser extent.

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