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Page last updated at 14:20 GMT, Tuesday, 7 September 2010 15:20 UK
Cheltenham Catholics head to Birmingham to see the Pope

The Wadley family from Cheltenham
The Wadley family from Cheltenham will join 65,000 Catholics in Birmingham

The Pope is visiting the UK in September in what will be the first papal visit to the country for almost 20 years.

About 80,000 pilgrims are expected to attend an evening vigil in Hyde Park with 65,000 expected the following day in Birmingham.

For many Catholics it will be their only chance to see Pope Benedict XVI and one family making the pilgrimage up the M5 is the Wadley's from Cheltenham.

"I think it will be an awesome experience," said Tony Wadley, husband of Katherine and father of Megan, Chloe and Matthew.

Tony Wadley

"I've been in the presence of Bishops before but to actually have the Pope in our midst will be a completely awesome experience."

'Very exciting'

For many Catholics it will be their one and only chance to see Pope Benedict the 16th and is an opportunity the Wadley family couldn't miss.

They will travel to Cofton Park, Birmingham, for an open-air mass on Sunday, 19 September, 2010, where the Pope will celebrate the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman.

Katherine, 35, who worships with the family at St Gregory's Church in Cheltenham, said she's "not sure what it's going to be like" but is excited about the day.

Megan, 14, thinks "it's going to be very exciting and a really special day" with Chloe, 11, hoping it'll be a "really good experience", whilst Matthew, 10, thinks it'll be "very very noisy and busy."

The children were baptised into the Catholic faith at a very young age following in the footsteps of dad Tony, who calls himself a "cradle Catholic", and mum Katherine who "was baptised when I was four weeks old".

Katherine Wadley

'Spiritual significance'

So why join thousands of other Catholics by making the journey to Birmingham?

"It's just such a great opportunity to be able to take our family to participate in something that's historical and of great spiritual significance to us," said Katherine.

Tony added that the Pope is "the nearest thing to [Jesus] Christ we've got and I've always wanted to see him".

"I want to see what he looks like," was the view from Matthew, whereas Megan and Chloe have always wanted to meet him.

The Wadley's are a very musical family with guitar-playing Tony leading the worship at St Gregory's with the rest of the family all singing in the music group.




SEE ALSO
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Pope to visit Britain in 2010
23 Sep 09 |  UK

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