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Page last updated at 17:41 GMT, Wednesday, 8 September 2010 18:41 UK
Birmingham pilgrims prepare for Pope Benedict XVI visit

Thousands of Catholics are expected to travel to Birmingham to see Pope Benedict XVI when he visits the city on Sunday, 19 September.

For many Catholics it will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the Pope.

During the Papal visit the Pope will attend events in Edinburgh, Glasgow, London as well as Birmingham, between 16 - 19 September.

BBC Birmingham will be following Catholics who plan to make the pilgrimage to see the Holy Father.

Miz Gannon

Miz Gannon

Miz is an 18 year old Catholic from Kings Norton. She's just become a volunteer youth worker at Soli House, a Catholic retreat centre for young people aged 14-18.

"I've got a very strong Catholic family on both my mum and dad's side which has been great support and encouragement throughout my life.

"In more recent years it has become more evident that there is a lack of young people going to church on a regular basis.

"Then you see people at places like Soli House and other retreat centres around the country and you realise there is a hope for the future of the church."

Audio: Miz talks about her faith

Update 20/9/10

We spoke to Miz after the Pope's visit and asked her how she felt about seeing the Pope at Cofton Park.

"It was absolutely brilliant - amazing that so many people turned up and so many of them young people.

"It was great to see so many Catholics come together and is was a reassurance of my faith."

Miz was so inspired by seeing the Pope she concluded: "I'm definitely going to try to get to Rome to see and hear the Pope again."

Beata Kobic

Beata Kobic

Beata Kobic, know to friends as Bee, has been a member of St Michael's Polish Catholic Church since the day she was born.

"My parents came over to England after the war. The community was very close knit.

"The key moment to my faith was the birth of my daughter."

Bee's daughter was born weighing only 3 pound 9 ounce and was baptised in hospital at two days old.

"After that she got better and that strengthened my faith."

Audio: Beata talks about being a Polish Catholic

Update 20/9/10

We spoke to Beata the day after the Pope's visit. She was still overwhelmed with emotion from the day.

"It was a very nice day. We met at 5.15am and went [to Cofton Park] by coach. The atmosphere was fantastic. At the end of the day I was exhausted and when I got home, just collapsed into a heap!

"If anyone ever gets the chance to go to something like this, it's so worth it."

Miriam Wilcher

Miriam Wilcher

Miriam lives in Kings Heath and says she is a cradle Catholic - a Catholic since she was a small baby.

"My faith first became noticeable to me when I went to different churches with my mother.

"I started at convent school in 1948. We had some nuns and some lay teachers as well. The nuns were strict, but they were fair.

"I think my faith continued in the way I was living my life. I went to Sierra Leon with the organisation Voluntary Service Overseas. For the first time in my life I saw what real poverty was like."

Miriam now goes to St Dunstan's Parish Church and has lots of fond memories, from her children's baptisms and confirmations to their weddings.

Audio: Miriam describes herself as a cradle Catholic

Update 20/9/10

Miriam spoke to Phil Upton on BBC WM the day after the Pope's visit.

"I shall always remember what he said in his homily, about us thinking again about our own spiritual journey and to go back to a prayerful approach to life.

"We were a bit wary about him coming over because he hasn't got the same charisma as the previous Pope, but this man has a different kind of message - about being faithful and prayerful.

"I found it a very reassuring and refreshing endorsement of my faith over the years."

Papal visit

Take a look back at our round-up of the Pope's visit to Birmingham.


Pope Benedict XVI Look back at Pope's visit
A look back on Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Birmingham
Pope Benedict XVI GigaPan: Pope in Birmingham
Zoom in on our gigapixel image to see the Pope at the Cofton park mass.
Pope in Cofton Park In pictures: Pope at Cofton Park
Pope Benedict XVI held an open-air mass at Cofton park.
Pilgrims at Cofton In pictures: Pilgrims at Cofton Park
Thousands of Catholic pilgrims attended the Cofton park mass.
Oratory In pictures: Pope at Birmingham Oratory
Pope Benedict XVI visited Birmingham Oratory during his tour.
Birmingham Oratory Audio slideshow: Birmingham Oratory
Father Richard talks about the life of Newman at the Oratory.
Pope visit In pictures: Pope visit 2010
Pope Benedict's four-day UK tour in pictures.
Curator Brendan Flynn with Cardinal Newman's mitre In pictures: Cardinal Newman display
An exhibition to celebrate the life of Cardinal Newman
Pope Benedict XVI BBC WM's highlights of the Pope Visit 2010

Jack Sullivan Jack Sullivan - Cardinal Newman cure

Pope silverware Pope silverware made in Birmingham

Pope Benedict XVI How will Pope be received in UK?

Pope John Paul II at Coventry airport In video: Pope visits Coventry

Archbishop Vincent Nichols on The Andrew Marr Show Hard Talk: Archbishop of Westminster


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