16/03/2010

UK Papal Visit Confirmed

The Pope will make a four day visit to the United Kingdom in September, it was confirmed today.

A formal invitation was sent to the Vatican from the Queen.

Benedict XVI will tour England and Scotland between 16 and 19 September.

His Holiness will arrive in Edinburgh on Thursday 16 September and will be received by The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

The Pople will also visit Glasgow, London and Coventry during his visit.

UK Government ministers and Catholic Bishops have welcomed the announcement.

At a joint press conference, they said that the Papal Visit represents an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen ties between the UK and the Holy See on global initiatives, as well as the important role of faith in creating strong communities.
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The Pope will give a major speech to British civil society at Westminster Hall. He will also visit the West Midlands to beatify the nineteenth century theologian and educationalist Cardinal John Henry Newman at a public mass in Coventry.

Other key elements of the visit will include a public mass in Glasgow, a prayer vigil in London and an event focusing on education. Relations between the Christian Churches will be a theme of the visit as will the relations between the major faiths.

The Pope will visit the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace and pray with other Church leaders at Westminster Abbey.

Jim Murphy MP, Secretary of State for Scotland, is the Government Minister leading the preparations for the visit.

He said: "This is an historic visit at an important time. The Pope will receive a very warm welcome from Catholics and people of all faiths."

Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, said: "I am thrilled that the Pope has accepted the UK Government's gracious invitation and I am sure he will receive a heartfelt welcome from Catholics as well as members of other faiths and people of goodwill."

(PR/GK)

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