Pope Benedict In Birmingham
The Pontiff’s final day in Britain began with a farewell to the Apostolic Nunciature. He then made his way to Wimbledon Park and an awaiting helicopter to be whisked away to Birmingham to celebrate a Mass of Beatification for John Henry Cardinal Newman. The Pope arrived to a 50,000 strong crowd at Cofton Park. At the beginning of his homily the Holy Father acknowledged the commemoration of the seventieth anniversary of the Battle of Britain, praising the sacrifice offered in “courageously resisting the forces of that evil ideology”. He then turned to the life and example of Cardinal Newman and expressed his joy in formally raising him to the altars.
The Pope praised Newman’s dedication to prayer and stressed how this fueled his mission as an intellectual, teacher and priest. The Holy Father called on all to follow Newman’s example of charity and to answer the call to holiness. The full text of the Pope’s homily may be found here.
After Mass, the Pope made a private visit to the Oratory of St Philip Neri in Edgbaston, Blessed John Henry Newman’s home for so many years. He then had lunch with the Bishops of Scotland, England and Wales at Oscott College and addressed them afterwards. He also met with English and Welsh seminarians studying for the priesthood. In the late afternoon he was driven to Birmingham Airport where the Prime Minister thanked him for challenging Britain to sit up and think, not only about the role of Christianity in society but about the values on which we base our culture. In his farewell address the Pope praised the diversity of Britain and thanked Her Majesty, the Queen and her government for their hospitality. He expressed his joy at the welcome he received from the Catholic community and concluded by wishing goodwill and the blessing of God upon the people of Britain.
Blessed John Henry Newman
pray for us