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Pope's UK beatification event moved

The location of a beatification ceremony to be conducted by the Pope on his UK visit later this year has been changed, the Catholic Church has confirmed.

Benedict XVI was scheduled to hold the open air mass at Coventry Airport, but the service will instead take place at Cofton Park in Birmingham, a spokesman said.

The new venue was chosen because of its "historical resonance" and close association with Cardinal John Henry Newman, the revered 19th century clergyman and Catholic convert who will be beatified on the final day of the papal visit.

Alexander des Forges, a spokesman for the Catholic Church, said: "As a church we have asked Birmingham City Council for Cofton Park to be the venue for the beatification of Cardinal Newman on September 19, the last day of the Pope's visit.

"With Cofton Park you have a very close association with Cardinal Newman because it is immediately adjacent to Oratory House in Rednal, where Cardinal Newman found a place of retreat for quiet reflection. And most particularly, he is buried in Rednal Cemetery.

"Choosing Cofton Park as a venue for the beatification will also enable the Pope to pay a private pilgrimage to the rooms of Cardinal Newman at Birmingham Oratory.

"It was very much about tying into the life and death of Cardinal Newman, and the historical resonance of Cofton Park. The real key to this is the association with Cardinal Newman."

The pontiff's four-day trip will begin on September 16 in Scotland, where he will be received by the Queen at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh before travelling to Glasgow for an open air mass at Bellahouston Park.

The Pope will then travel to London where he will meet the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams at Lambeth Palace and pray with other church leaders at Westminster Abbey.

His itinerary will also include an address at Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament.

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