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Page last updated at 12:38 GMT, Thursday, 9 September 2010 13:38 UK
Devon Catholics off to see the Pope
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI will be meeting Catholics from all over the UK

Pope Benedict XVI will be visiting the UK between 16 - 19 September 2010.

For Catholics from all over the country, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the Pope.

Groups from parishes all over Devon will be heading to London and the West Midlands to attend events with thousands of other pilgrims.

Some of them have spoken to BBC Devon about their faith, where they will be making their pilgrimage, and what they hope to experience.

48-year-old David

David from Exmouth
David from Exmouth

"Being a Catholic is massively significant. It does two things; it guides me, helping me to discern the right thing to do, and in times of trouble it reassures me.

"If I die and there is nothing, I will have lived a happier life for it.

"I am joining representatives of our schools for the Pope's Big Assembly which will be piped out to all schools, and the same afternoon I'm attending a smaller gathering to hear him give a lecture at Westminster Hall.

"I hope to be inspired. This isn't an easy time to be either religious generally or Catholic specifically, and I hope this will give me some connection to the authority of the Church.

"Big events are good for us because they set us in a context; they show us that we are part of something bigger than ourselves."

40-year-old Liz

Liz from Exeter
Liz from Exeter

"I'll be attending the Beatification Mass in Birmingham.

"I am a cradle Catholic. My grandfather came from a large Irish family and one of his brothers was a priest, so celebration of the Sacraments was a family affair, He married my parents and a few years later baptised me and became my Godfather.

"I've been fortunate to go on parish pilgrimages to Fatima and Knock, which I enjoyed immensely. It was wonderful to share this experience with members of our parish community, particularly some of the older people from whom I learnt so much.

"I hope that the Pope's visit will enable me to appreciate the Pope himself. Even as Catholics much of our view of the current Papacy is shaped by the media - often in a rather negative light.

"However if you read his encyclicals a very different message emerges, focussed on the love of God for Man and the environment.

"I hope that will be demonstrated during this visit and be evident for the general public to see."

The Big Assembly

Pupils from Holy Cross Primary School are getting very excited because they will be on stage with the Pope at the Big Assembly.

They will present him with a prayer bag that has been made by both them and a school they have been working with in The Gambia.

Nine-year-old Lauren

Lauren from Holy Cross Primary School in Plymouth
Lauren from Holy Cross Primary School in Plymouth

"I have been a catholic since I was born and it means a lot to me as it is important for all my family. I really enjoy going to church and having a bit of silence where I can pray to God and think about things.

"Our link with The Gambia has allowed us to learn more about another country even though I haven't been there. I am looking forward to getting to know more about The Gambia and I feel that I have a greater appreciation of another culture.

"I am really happy about seeing the Pope and feel very excited. To be that close to him will be amazing because he is the head of the Catholic Church."

10-year-old Cameron

Cameron from Holy Cross Primary School in Plymouth
Cameron from Holy Cross Primary School in Plymouth

"I have been a catholic since I was born and it means a lot to me because I am part of a strong community - my parish and my school. I enjoy lots of experiences such as my first Holy Communion as well as learning more about Jesus.

"I enjoyed interacting with the head teacher of St John Vianney School because I got to learn what they do differently to us. Helping each other has made me realise that even though we are miles apart, we all belong to one big family.

"Seeing the Pope will be an amazing experience that I will never forget."

Eight-year-old Hope

Hope from Holy Cross Primary School in Plymouth
Hope from Holy Cross Primary School in Plymouth

"I have been a catholic since I was born and it means a lot to me as I can pray to God. I like to thank him as well as ask him for help in what I do each day.

"We have been shown videos of what life is like in the Gambia. It was great to see that even though they may have less things than us, we are still the same. We all like to play games, laugh, play music, dance and learn.

"I am excited because it is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I will never forget."

Papal Visit

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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