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Page last updated at 11:53 GMT, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 12:53 UK
Gloucestershire Catholics to help pay for visit of Pope

Pope Benedict XVI blesses in front of a replica of the Grotto of Lourdes to celebrate the end of May
Pope Benedict will spend three days in the UK in September.

Catholics in Gloucestershire are being asked to pay a pound towards the visit of the Pope in September.

The money is needed to help pay for two open air Masses that will take place when Pope Benedict visits the United Kingdom.

The Diocese of Clifton, which includes Gloucestershire, has appointed Father Michael McAndrew to the post of Papal Visit Coordinator to encourage local Catholics to get involved.

"The reaction of Catholics in Gloucestershire to the Papal visit has been very enthusiastic," said Father McAndrew, "with a great deal of excitement especially among the young people who are an important part of the visit."

The Catholic church has to pay for the Catholic events that are going to happen.
Father Michael McAndrew

The visit of Pope Benedict will be different from when Pope John Paul II came the United kingdom in 1982.

"The visit of John Paul II was a pastoral visit at the invitation of the Catholic community," added Father McAndrew.

"Pope Benedict will be coming on a state visit which will include a meeting with the Queen as well as formal meetings with the Government and opposition."

There will be two opportunities for the Catholic community in Gloucestershire to celebrate the Pope's visit.

"The two events in which Gloucestershire can be involved are at Coventry airport where the Pope will beatify Cardinal Newman at an open air Mass, and at Hyde Park which will include a prayer vigil and youth rally", continued Father McAndrew.

Gloucestershire Catholics do need to raise money to help pay for the these open events.

"The Catholic church has to pay for the Catholic events that are going to happen.

"We reckon it means that Catholics have to pay a pound for each Mass-going person and we are billing it as a 'Pound for the Pope', a pound to welcome the Pope to our country."

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

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