A one-million pound restoration and development campaign is being launched at St Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham tomorrow. The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Birmingham, said: "This is an exciting moment. Through this venture we seek to enrich the life of the City by creating new and exciting access to St Chad's which is such an important part of the historic and cultural heritage of Birmingham." Archbishop Nichols added: "I hope that many from beyond the Catholic community will support this development campaign." Father Brian Doolan, Dean of St Chad's, said: "St Chad's is the jewel on the edge of Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter. It is the Catholic flagship at the heart of our city. Our redevelopment plan will enable everyone to enjoy our heritage and appreciate the richness of the faith it represents and symbolises." St Chad's Cathedral, mother church of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, situated on the edge of the Jewellery Quarter, is one of the architectural and historic gems of the city. A major work of the Gothic revival architect Augustus Welby Pugin, St Chad's was the first Catholic Cathedral to be built in England after the Reformation. Built between 1839 and 1841, it was opened and consecrated on 21 June 1841 by Bishop Thomas Walsh, Vicar Apostolic of the Midland District. In 1941 Pope Pius XII made it a Minor Basilica. Besides major restoration work, plans for the cathedral include a heritage centre, with exhibitions on the history and traditions of Catholicism in the Midlands, and facilities for school and group visits. The centre will also contain the permanent display of the Cathedral's rich collection of treasures, some of which are currently in storage, dating from the 15th to the 20th centuries, including a 15th century oak statue of Our Lady believed to be the first statue of Our Lady erected for public veneration in England after the Reformation. For more information see: www.birminghamdiocese.org.uk
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