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Beatification of Cardinal Newman at Cofton Park

Cofton Park - photos by Peter Jennings

Cofton Park - photos by Peter Jennings

Cardinal John Henry Newman was buried in the small secluded graveyard at the Oratory House Rednal on Tuesday 19 August 1890 following his Funeral Mass at the Oratory Church in Edgbaston. He died in his room at the Oratory House just over a week earlier, on Monday 11 August, aged 89.

Now 130 years later, on Sunday 19 September 2010 the Beatification of this holy pastoral parish priest will take place during a Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI in the beautiful Cofton Park in Birmingham, adjacent to the Oratory Retreat at Rednal as it is known. It was here that Cardinal Newman found a place of quiet and retreat for work and reflection.

The Mass is scheduled to start at 10am and last approximately two hours and be attended by 70,000 or more pilgrims from many countries throughout the world.

After Mass the Holy Father will make a private pilgrimage to the Oratory House in Edgbaston - built on the instructions of Fr Newman and his home from February 1852 until his death - where he will see Cardinal Newman's room and private chapel dedicated to St Francis de Sales.

The decision to hold the Mass at Cofton Park was made on Wednesday 23 June following the visit by Dr Alberto Gasbarri, Head of the Vatican delegation organising the Papal Visit, Thursday 16 to Sunday 19 September.

Dr Gasbarri and the organisers of the Visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, believe that the historical resonance of the Cofton Park venue with Cardinal Newman's life and death will prove to be a fitting setting for the celebration of the Beatification.

Details of the final programme of the State Visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom will be published on Monday 5 July.

It was planned to hold the Papal Mass at Coventry Airport where Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass on the Feast of Pentecost, 31 May 1982, during his historic Pastoral Visit to Great Britain.

The Catholic Church worked with Coventry City Council and the other agencies at Coventry Airport and the Archdiocese of Birmingham in particular would like thank them most sincerely for all the time and effort they invested to prepare for the Papal Mass.


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