Pope Benedict XVI sent his “heartfelt greetings” to the people of Great Britain today in his weekly general audience in Rome.
He said he was “very much looking forward” to his visit and that it would be a “particular joy” to beatify Cardinal Newman, a figure whom he greatly admires.
The Pope pointed to Newman’s “gentle wisdom”, saying: “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.
“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,” Pope Benedict said.
He also thanked the Government, local authorities, security services and the media as well as Catholics for the “vast amount of work” that had gone into the visit. He said: ” I want to say how much I appreciate the efforts that have been made to ensure that the various events planned will be truly joyful celebrations.
“Above all 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.”