Thousands attend beatification on final day of Papal visit

Steady rain failed to dampen the spirits of thousands of the faithful as they trooped into Cofton Park in Birmingham today ahead of the start of the beatification Mass for Cardinal Newman.

Pilgrims armed with folding chairs and dressed in waterproofs trudged past souvenir scarf and flag sellers to get into the park in advance of the Mass.

Sherry Franklin, 50, from Long Ashton, Bristol, a learning support worker, had travelled to the Mass with her sister Irene Cox, 52, a chronic diabetic.

Mrs Franklin said: "To be in the presence of the Pope and so many other Catholics is a dream come true.

"I have a very ill sister and it has been her greatest wish to one day see the Pope in person.

"To be with her and see her dream fulfilled is just so wonderful."

David Paton, 44, a professor of economics at Nottingham University, was leading a group from the Nottingham parishes of Holy Spirit, St Anne's and Our Lady's Cotgrave near Nottingham.

He said: "It is a very big event for Catholics that the Pope has come to our country and we did not want to miss a chance of seeing him.

"I saw the last Pope in Cardiff when I was much younger. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me."

He said the Pope's visit had been "absolutely wonderful".

"I think he is obviously a shy and a quiet man but he has got a real way of reaching out to people, not just Catholics," he said.

"People have a right to put their point of view, we have a free country and people can protest, but what I get upset about is when people say things that are not true about the Pope."

Polish-born Beata Szczepanowska, 26, a recent graduate in Celtic studies at Aberystwyth University in Wales, was wearing a Welsh flag and a Polish flag draped across each shoulder.

She said it was "absolutely amazing" to be in the park for the Mass.

She said: "I saw John Paul II in Poland and it has been wonderful to see Pope Benedict here. I am just so happy to be in Cofton Park for his visit.

"I am so pleased with the warmth of the reception he has received in this country,"

Frances McHugh, 67, a retired secretary from Shirley, Birmingham, and a parishioner at Our Lady of the Wayside Church said she had travelled to Coventry airport in 1982 to see Pope John Paul II.

"Pope Benedict is a very holy man and it is lovely to see him in this country. We have not had to go to see him in Rome, he has come to see us," she said.

Nina Watson, 52, from Streatham, south London, an Anglican convert, said she had left in the early hours on board a parish coach from the capital.

She said the Pope had been "wonderful and inspiring" during his visit.

Catholics chased alongside the Popemobile as it toured with park waving banners with slogans such as "100% Catholic" and shouting "We love you, Pope Benedict."

Niamh Malone, 25, a Catholic youth worker from Lincoln, who was carrying a banner reading "We are with you 100% Papa" said seeing the Pope was "phenomenal"

"It was out this world to see him, I cannot tell you how incredible it was. That is why we came, we just wanted to see him in the flesh," she said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration Engineer

£24000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: These refrigeration specialists...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Logistics and Supply Chain

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an operational role and...

Recruitment Genius: CNC Sheet Metal Worker / Fabricator

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working within the workshop of ...

Recruitment Genius: 1st / 2nd Line IT Support Engineer

£20000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist high tech compa...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral