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Pope's visit will 'strengthen Redbridge Catholics'

PUBLISHED: 16:00 18 September 2010

WASHINGTON - APRIL 17:  Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Mass for more than 45,000 Catholics at the new Nationals Park April 17, 2008 in Washington, DC. This is the first of two Masses that the pope will say during his five-day trip to the United States including one in New York's Yankee Stadium on Sunday, April 20.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON - APRIL 17: Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Mass for more than 45,000 Catholics at the new Nationals Park April 17, 2008 in Washington, DC. This is the first of two Masses that the pope will say during his five-day trip to the United States including one in New York's Yankee Stadium on Sunday, April 20. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

2008 Getty Images

THE VISIT to the UK by "outspoken" Pope Benedict XVI will both reinvigorate ­Redbridge's Catholics and bring new people to the faith, according to a local priest.

The Pope was due to hold an open air vigil in Hyde Park today during the first Papal visit to the UK since Pope John Paul II in 1982.

Fr John Tuohy, of St John the ­Baptist Roman Catholic Church, Wanstead Park Road, Ilford, said: “I hope he will reinvigorate people’s faith. He’s quite capable of doing that. He’s very outspoken – he doesn’t mince his words.

“Some people take offence to that but in his position he should be able to speak out when he needs to.”

On the final day of the Pope’s visit he will travel to Birmingham for the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman. Catholics from Redbridge will be following the Pope to the city for the celebration.

Paul Samuels, parish pastoral coordinator of SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church, High Road, Ilford, said: “Many of these pilgrims will be making a substantial effort to travel to ­Birmingham.

“Those leaving from Ilford for the beatification ceremony will do so at 2am on Sunday.

“This shows the importance that Catholics place upon this Papal visit.

“These pilgrims and many who may not be able to be present, who will no doubt follow the events on television, will hear Pope Benedict’s words of encouragement and insight, while he in turn will listen to the concerns and issues raised by those he meets.”

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