Papal Visit


AT COFTON PARK, BIRMINGHAM 19th September 2010

There were twenty five people from Christ Church who travelled to Birmingham for the Mass. We joined the others from the local parishes at St. Paul’s Catholic College in Wythenshawe at 4 a.m. By 4.30 a.m. the three coaches were on their way. The journey was uneventful apart from the heavy rain most of the way there.

Once in Birmingham we had difficulty finding the ‘Blue’ Car Park, but we did eventually. By 7.15 a.m. we were off the coach and had a long walk to the Park. Once inside people settled down to have their breakfast. It was still drizzling and overcast but the jubilant atmosphere took everyone’s mind off this.

By the time the Holy Father arrived in the sky above in his helicopter, 50000 people were waving and cheering his arrival. There were 1000 priests to concelebrate with him, all the bishops were there and seven archbishops!

He arrived in the park in his ‘Pope mobile’ and babies were blessed and people waved and cheered. Everyone who spoke after mentioned how they felt that the Pope had looked directly at them and waved at them!

The Mass began and there was wonderful singing led by a choir of a 1000 singers (including Fr. Paul’s daughter, Claire). There were wonderful periods of silence when you could have heard a pin drop. When John Henry Newman was declared Blessed by the Holy Father an image of him appeared in the sanctuary and the crowd applauded and cheered.

The whole event was really well organised and Holy Communion distributed so quickly among the 50000 people (one of the deacons who distributed Holy Communion was Deacon Andrew, Fr. Paul’s son) . All the while the security men were vigilant but people were still able to see and meet the Holy Father. As Pope Benedict was leaving from behind the sanctuary after Mass, Fr. Paul managed take two or three close up pictures of him.

On the coach on the way home, people were full of the experience and so pleased that they had decided to go. It wasn’t long though before nearly everyone was asleep!    

 A selection of photographs is shown below.                                                                                                                  


Photographs courtesy of Father Paul Lomas