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Cardinal Newman scholar from Cheltenham awaits Pope visit

Hugh Greenhalf
Hugh Greenhalf will attend the beatification mass in Birmingham

A Gloucestershire Catholic says he has been praying for the beatification of Cardinal Newman 'for many many years'.

Hugh Greenhalf, a member of St Gregory the Great's parish in Cheltenham, is a Newman scholar and also a member of the Newman Association and Friends of Newman.

He plans to attend the beatification ceremony at Cofton Park, Birmingham, and said it'll mean a great deal "because I have wished for, and prayed for, this to happen for many many years".

Inspired by his life, his conversion and his writings, Hugh said:

"I just think he's a wonderful character - one of the truly great figures of the 19th century, a truly great Englishman and of course one of the greatest Catholics that our land has ever produced."

'Catholic church'

Hugh came from a non-conformist background where he'd never heard the name of Newman mentioned.

The turning point was in 1951 when at the age of 14 he attended a performance of The Dream of Gerontius, an oratorio composed by Edward Elgar to text from the poem by Cardinal Newman.

He was overwhelmed by the music and "beautiful words" and from that point on began to study the works of Newman and apply them to his own life.

"I can honestly say that it was primarily due to Newman's life, his writings and I'm sure his prayers, that I was eventually received into the Catholic church in 1997", added Hugh.

You can hear an interview with Hugh Greenhalf on the Clifton Diocese website.

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