England

Coventry teachers design furniture for Pope's Mass

Teachers in Coventry have designed and made furniture which will be used for Pope Benedict XVI's special Mass in Birmingham.

The Pope will lead an open-air Mass in Cofton Park on Sunday 19 September at the end of his four-day UK visit.

The papal chair, three altars and lectern have all been made by a team led by Ian Hall, deputy head at Cardinal Newman School in Coventry.

He said the three-month project had been a "labour of love".

It is the first official papal visit to the UK since 1982, when the current pope's predecessor, John Paul II, came to Britain.

The Pope will beatify Cardinal Newman at the Mass, which is expected to be attended by thousands of people.

Mr Hall said the school had been approached by the Church to make the furniture.

He said the church was keen to "retain the link" between the special Mass and the school named after the cardinal.

Mr Hall said: "We have done everything from scratch. We have designed everything.

"We have come up with the plans for it and discussed the plans with the Bishops' Conference in London and then just got on and made it."

The Papal Chair is inscribed 'Heart Speaks Unto Heart.'

Cardinal Newman, who founded Birmingham Oratory and who was known for his work with poor people, died in 1890.

The ceremony will bring him a step closer to becoming the first non-martyred English saint since the Reformation.

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