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Page last updated at 10:35 GMT, Monday, 13 September 2010 11:35 UK
Berkshire Catholics prepare to meet Pope

The Pope will be visiting the UK between 16 - 19 September.

For many Catholics it will be their one and only chance to see Pope Benedict on 16 September.

An excited group of young Catholics from Berkshire will be making their own pilgrimage to London and Birmingham for the Papal visit.

BBC Radio Berkshire spoke to the pilgrims about their feelings before they go, and about what it means to them to be practising Catholics.

34-year-old Arlene Rebello

Arlene Rebello

"I was baptised a Catholic just after I was born and went through a Catholic education at a Catholic primary and secondary school.

"There was a period when I was lapsed, about the time I went to university.

"Then I went on a pilgrimage and had a conversation which made me realise I had a choice, to follow Jesus or to follow what society expects of me.

"It's such an important role in my life, when things are difficult if I stop and take time out and pray I can feel God's presence helping me, supporting me through everything in life."

15-year-old Christian Frank

Christian Frank

"I went to a Catholic primary school, and since then I've gone into a non Catholic education.

"It really does affect how I am and I didn't realise how big a part of my life that is until the last couple of years.

"I will spend time out and pray and doing other things with my religion.

"I'll go to church every week.

"I see other people who don't go to church every week and it does have a deep effect on me.

"Not all my friends understand what I do and why I go to church.

"But I think when I come to church and I see the community we have here and the effect it has on all these people, I do think my religion is something I can stick with."

Marius Hopley

Marius Hopley

"I think it's a great opportunity to see someone who's an important figure within our church and the occasion is quite special.

"When the last Pope visited in 1982, I went to that, so it's just another opportunity again to see the leader of our church.

"I think there's a lot of mystery about the Catholic church that doesn't need to be there. As someone who's a cradle Catholic it's just normal for me.

"There are no smoke and mirrors."

18-year-old Mark Tanner

Mark Tanner

"Being a Catholic in an everyday sense gives you morals and guidelines you follow, which help you stay on the right track.

"We're all in a strong community, hopefully it will increase all our faith."

Ann Frank

Ann Frank

"I hope that Catholics will feel able to take part in the local government more, to be proud to be Catholic and not feel it's something that's so private and personal to them.

"Maybe when we have events in the town it won't always be assumed that the events will happen in the local Protestant church and they will use the Catholic Church more.

"I was born a Catholic, I've always been a Catholic and proud to be a Catholic."




SEE ALSO
How will Pope be received in UK?
01 Sep 10 |  Newsnight
Pope Benedict Birmingham visit
14 Jul 10 |  People & Places
Profile: Pope Benedict XVI
25 Dec 09 |  Europe

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