Faithful in England prepare for Cardinal Newman beatification

3 16 2010  Newman BXVI Cardinal John Henry Newman and Pope Benedict XVI

Birmingham's Cofton Park is set to be filled with Catholics for Cardinal John Henry Newman's beatification ceremony on Sept. 19. The momentum of the occasion is bringing attention to several projects to remember the late cardinal.

Organizers have announced that 70,000 people, including 1,000 priests, are expected to be in attendance during Cardinal Newman's beatification, according to Sky News. The ceremony will be celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI himself during his trip to England this fall.

As parish priests across the U.K. are deciding how to distribute their allotted tickets to their parishioners, other initiatives are taking shape around the country.

Stamps commemorating the occasion will be issued on the 120th anniversary of the cardinal's death on Aug. 11. According to Scotsman news, Archdiocese of Birmingham spokesman Peter Jennings has promoted the printing of the postage stamps featuring Cardinal Newman which will be sold together with a "stamp label" bearing the image of the Holy Father.

The stamp could be of special interest to collectors as the beatification's location was erroneously listed as Coventry Airport rather than Cofton Park. At the time of their printing, the airfield was thought to be the likely venue.

The plans for another major Cardinal Newman initiative were announced by the Oxford Oratory this week as they released further details for the construction of a new chapel dedicated to him. According to the Oxford Mail, the chapel will be the "centerpiece" of a five million British Pound plan for improvements and new construction.

To date, just 20 percent of the funds have been raised for the project, with fundraising activities being carried out by Oratory staff both in the U.S. and the U.K.

Oxford Mail captured the enthusiasm at the Oratory, quoting its provost, Fr. Robert Byrne, saying, “This is an exciting development not only for the parish but the whole of Oxford. It will be a fitting memorial for Cardinal Newman.”

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