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Page last updated at 11:35 GMT, Thursday, 9 September 2010 12:35 UK
Tyneside and Wearside Catholics head off for Papal visit

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

For many Catholics, it will be their one and only chance to see Pope Benedict XVI.

An excited group of Catholics from Tyneside and Wearside will be making their own pilgrimages for the State Papal visit.

BBC Newcastle spoke to some of them about their spiritual hopes and feelings before they go.

Jennifer Kelly

Jennifer Kelly

"I've always been a Catholic - as a family on Sunday, we get up, we go to church, we have Sunday dinner. That's just the way it was done.

"As an engineering student at Newcastle University, I'm used to looking at what's right and wrong and finding solutions. My faith is something at the back of my mind that doesn't have to be proved. It's my gut feeling it's something that's right.

"I'll be in Glasgow for the papal mass. It's a once in a lifetime chance isn't it? It's an opportunity I'm probably never going to have again."

Sylvia Jenkins

Sylvia Jenkins

"My faith has always been there for me and while there have been times in my life when I've struggled, it has always come right in the end.

"Back in 1982, I went to see Pope Jean-Paul II at York. I had four children at the time and we all dressed in the Papal colours. It was so exciting.

"This time, I'm going to Westminster Cathedral with my daughter Ruth. I think it'll be a more formal occasion but I'm looking forward to telling my other children what it was like."

Katie Hawthorne

Katie Hawthorne

"It was only when I went to Germany for a while and felt the need to find a church, that I knew how much my faith meant to me.

"I'm part of a young community of Catholics who go to St Mary's Cathedral in Newcastle and many of us are going to Glasgow for the Papal mass there.

"Lots of people at work have asked me why I'm going and it's made me feel much more certain about what I believe and why it matters."

George Willmore

George Willmore

"I wasn't raised a Catholic. I converted in 1995, so for me, it's a choice not an obligation.

"I love the history of the Church, stretching back through centuries.

"I'm going to Glasgow with my wife Sheila, and we are both very excited. It might be the last chance we have to experience the presence of a Pope."

Teresa Hegarty

Teresa Hegarty

"I was born in Northern Ireland and come hail, rain and shine we went to Mass and my faith has never left me.

"We all went to see Jean-Paul II and had a great day, but I think this time it might be a different experience, more formal perhaps with more security.

"Without my faith, I'd have been much more unhappy. Through all the times of worry and strife in my life I've been sure that I've had God's protection."

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