Birmingham & Black Country

Early start for Papal pilgrims at Cofton Park mass

Pope Benedict XVI
Image caption The Pope will beatify Cardinal Newman, who had a long association with Birmingham

Pilgrims attending Pope Benedict's mass at Cofton Park, Birmingham, on Sunday 19 September will be allowed to assemble from 0200 BST, the city council has agreed.

The Pope will beatify Cardinal John Newman at a ceremony to be televised live on BBC2 later the same day.

The council has sent 10,000 letters to people living nearby, outlining disruption they will face.

These include road closures on the day and site building work from 26 August.

Councillor Alan Rudge said parts of the park would remain open throughout the day for normal activities like dog walking.

He said road closures would be implemented as late as possible.

Pilgrim pass

In the letter to local residents, Mr Rudge said they would be working with the police and church authorities to keep disruption to a minimum, although there will be an increase in construction traffic before the event.

Attendance at the mass is by pilgrim pass only. These are being allocated through the Roman Catholic Church by local parish priests.

Residents have been given the itinerary for the day. Pilgrims - all of whom will arrive by coach - will have entry from 0200 BST.

Rehearsals will begin at 0600 BST with morning worship being broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 0810 BST.

The two-hour beatification mass will begin at 1000 BST.

The site is expected to be clear by 1800 BST.

An inquiry line will operate from 16 August on 0121 675 1164.

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