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Page last updated at 17:24 GMT, Friday, 10 September 2010 18:24 UK
Catholics from Norfolk mark the Pope's visit to the UK

Catholics in Norfolk are preparing to make the pilgrimage to London to mark the visit of Pope Benedict XVI.

It is the first Papal visit to the UK since John Paul II in 1982 and will be the only chance many people will get to see the Pope in person.

BBC Radio Norfolk spoke to five Catholics from around the county about their faith and what the visit means to them.

The Pope begins a four day tour of the UK on Thursday, 16 September 2010.

Laura Gilmore
Laura Gilmore, a Catholic from Poringland

"I was brought up a Catholic, my dad is a Catholic and I went through the whole Catholic education system.

"It was just something I was born into more than anything else, but it's not something I would change.

"I think it's an occasion that shouldn't be missed. He's only going to the visit the UK once, I should think, while he's Pope, and I think it's going to be such an amazing and huge event with so many Catholics attending the same mass.

"As well as those being there, there'll be so many people following it across the world as well, it's a way to bring us all together. It should be a fun day for me as well!"

Father Luke Goymour
Father Luke Goymour, curate at St John's Cathedral in Norwich

"I've been a priest for eight or nine weeks, so to experience celebrating mass with the Pope, with the unity and everything that symbolises, to celebrate with him as a brother priest is an extraordinary thing.

"I simply wouldn't be able to make sense of life without my faith. Those years where I was away from the church really were a time of searching, of really wrestling with what I understand now to be philosophy and the meaning of life and how things fit in.

"I think I'm going to be encouraged - encouraged by the youth, encouraged by the Catholics who will come out and pray with and celebrate mass together with the Pope.

"And as a new priest at the beginning of my priesthood, I think it's going to be an amazing time, an encouraging time."

Alex Dimminger
Alex Dimminger, a Catholic from Diss

"I've always been a Catholic, I was baptised when I was two months old and I've always been brought up Catholic.

"I think it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The last time we had a Pope on English soil was 1982, so to be able to access the Holy Father in your own country is something that I may never, ever be able to experience again.

"I will be with the Pope on Saturday, during the mass at Westminster Cathedral. I've been asked to represent the Diocese of East Anglia and stand on the steps with him.

"I think that it's going to be a really special day, so I am really nervous, but it's just really exciting because I will be one of a few people allowed inside the Cathedral, rather than being one of thousands outside."

Mary Stebbings
Mary Stebbings, a Catholic from Poringland in Norwich

"I was christened a Catholic literally three days after I was born. My paternal aunt was a very devout Catholic, and even though my mother wasn't, she supported and encouraged my faith throughout my life.

"I feel very strongly that I must go and see the Pope. I feel particularly that it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"At the vigil in Hyde Park I'm looking forward to joining in prayer with - I hope - many, many, many people of different faiths.

"I think I will become more fulfilled in my faith, not that I need to be necessarily, but I just feel that I will have a greater understanding of the Catholic faith and feel nearer to God."

Nathan Williamson
Nathan Williamson, a Catholic from Costessey in Norwich

"My whole family is Catholic so I've been Catholic since birth.

"Being a Catholic gives you a set of morals which I live by. It makes you a good person, so you act kindly to everyone else.

"I think it will have an affect on how I see the church as a whole.

"To see the actual leader, the Pope, who leads 1.2 billion Catholics, it's a very important thing. You see how it all links together, how we are all one big family."


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