Benedict XVI Is "Looking Forward" to UK Trip

Highlights «Particular Joy» of Cardinal Newman’s Beatification

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 8, 2010 ( Benedict XVI says he is «very much looking forward» to his Sept. 16-19 visit to the United Kingdom, particularly the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, which will take place on the last day of the trip.

The Pope expressed his enthusiasm today at the end of the general audience held in Paul VI Hall.

«I am very much looking forward to my visit to the United Kingdom in a week’s time and I send heartfelt greetings to all the people of Great Britain,» he said.

The Holy Father acknowledged the «vast amount of work» that has gone into preparing the trip and affirmed his appreciation for the «efforts that have been made to ensure that the various events planned will be truly joyful celebrations.»

«Above all,» he said, «I thank the countless people who have been praying for the success of the visit and for a great outpouring of God’s grace upon the Church and the people of your nation.»

Turning his attention to the Sept. 19 beatification ceremony in Birmingham, he said it would be a «particular joy for me to beatify the Venerable John Henry Newman.»

«This truly great Englishman lived an exemplary priestly life and through his extensive writings made a lasting contribution to Church and society both in his native land and in many other parts of the world,» the Pope said. «It is my hope and prayer that more and more people will benefit from his gentle wisdom and be inspired by his example of integrity and holiness of life.»

Benedict XVI assured that he’s looking forward to meeting representatives of religious and cultural traditions, as well as political leaders. He expressed his gratitude to the queen and the archbishop of Canterbury, and concluded by suggesting a tinge of disappointment that the visit will be short.

«While I regret that there are many places and people I shall not have the opportunity to visit,» he said, «I want you to know that you are all remembered in my prayers. God bless the people of the United Kingdom!»

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