Pilgrims Reflect On Birmingham visit By Pope Benedict

Thousands of Catholics from around Staffordshire made the pilgrimage down to Birmingham for the papal visit on Sunday, 19 September, 2010. For many of them, it was their one and only chance to see Pope Benedict XVI. The Pope concluded his visit to the UK with the beatification of Cardinal Newman at the city's Cofton Park. Cardinal John Henry Newman, who founded the Birmingham Oratory, is now set to become England's first non martyred Catholic saint for hundreds of years. It may have been a rainy night, but that didn't stop local pilgrims making the short journey down the M6 to Birmingham. Several coachloads of parishioners left from Holy Trinity Church in Newcastle-under-Lyme to join up with over 50,000 other pilgrims who were gathering in Cofton Park. Two of those, Father Phillip Griffin and Barbara Davies, spoke to BBC Radio Stoke about the historic occasion. Father Griffin admitted that it wasn't all plain sailing, but everyone got there in the end with a little bit of divine intervention: "There were a few technical hitches, I'm afraid, like some of the coaches didn't turn up by the time we were supposed to have gone. "But, of course, as people of prayer, we knew it would all sort itself out in the end, and luckily it did," said Father Griffin.