Page last updated at 12:11 GMT, Wednesday, 1 October 2008 13:11 UK

Exhumed cardinal to lie in state

Cardinal Newman's grave
Cardinal Newman's remains had previously been in a grave in Rednal

Thousands of Catholics are expected to pay their respects to a cardinal who could become England's first saint since 1970.

The remains of Cardinal John Henry Newman, who died in 1890, will lie in state at the Upper Cloister Hall at the Birmingham Oratory later this month.

His body was due exhumed from a grave in Rednal, Worcestershire, as part of a beatification process.

The Vatican is investigating claims of miracles attributed to the Cardinal.

Among the alleged miracles is a claim by Jack Sullivan, a deacon from Boston, Massachusetts, that he was cured of a crippling spinal disease after praying to Cardinal Newman.

Reformation saints

His body will lie in state in a coffin on 31 October and 1 November.

The coffin will lie in a sarcophagus, made of green Italian marble, situated between the columns opposite the Holy Souls Altar in the Oratory Church.

It will be followed by a special Mass at the Oratory on Sunday, 2 November.

Cardinal Newman, who founded the Birmingham Oratory and was known for his work with the poor, converted to Catholicism in 1844.

If the Vatican agrees to the beatification of the Cardinal, it would mark a significant step towards sainthood.

The last time a Briton was canonised was in 1970 when 40 martyrs from England and Wales and from the Reformation were made saints.

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