Papal plans for Cofton Park

By on 13/08/2010 in News

As Birmingham prepares for the visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Councillor Alan Rudge talks to residents about what will be happening in Cofton Park.

On Sunday 19 September 2010 His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will visit Birmingham for the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman. This is the final day of a four-day state visit to the UK. Cofton Park has been chosen by the Vatican for the beatification and mass because of the cardinal's long association with Birmingham.

“This will undoubtedly be a very exciting time and will bring many thousands of visitors and the world's media to our city. The visit of His Holiness is a great honour for Birmingham and a chance to show the world our rich historical and cultural heritage. Such is the religious and cultural significance of the visit it will create a real legacy for Birmingham and become a pilgrimage for Catholics globally,” said Councillor Rudge, cabinet member for Equalities and Human Resources and council lead for the Papal visit.

Attendance at the mass will be by pilgrim pass only and these are being allocated through the Roman Catholic Church by local parish priests. The arrival of pilgrims will be by coach only and strictly timed according to an agreed programme, to allow ease of access and departure.

Councillor Rudge added: “An event of this size will undoubtedly result in a considerable amount of work in preparation for this historic occasion. The city council is working closely with key agencies such as the Church and West Midlands Police to ensure that any disruption to local people is kept to an absolute minimum.

“Before the event construction work will take place in the park and naturally there will be an increase in traffic in the area. I have this week sent a letter to residents living near the park, explaining the background to the visit and arrangements for the mass.”

10,000 letters have been printed for distribution to residents around Cofton Park.

There will be limited access to parts of the park during construction, which is due to begin on 26th August. However, most of the park will be open during the bank holiday weekend as work will begin around the car park and barn area and move outwards. Further details of this and traffic management and access arrangements will be made available as soon as possible. We recommend you keep an eye out for information in the local media and on websites including www.birmingham.gov.uk, www.thepapalvisit.org.uk and www.fco.gov.uk.

The event is being organised by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office as it is a state visit.

Church volunteers with look after pilgrims at the site who will arrive by coach and arrival will be staggered. This means pilgrims will start to arrive on site at approx 2am on the Sunday and the site should be clear by approx 6pm.

Full details for the day at Cofton Park are:

02:00  Site opens to pilgrims
06:00  Rehearsals including choir
08:10  Morning worship planned broadcast on BBC Radio 4
10:00  Mass begins
12:00  Mass ends
12:30  The Angelus
18:00  Site clear of pilgrims

The council has already been in contact will residents who think they may be affected by the visit and I would ask anyone with any concerns to either call the enquiry line from Monday 16th August on 0121 675 1164 or email papalvisit@birmingham.gov.uk (now operational).

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