MORE THAN 2,000 schoolchildren are to stage a 90 minute pageant at the Mass for 500.000 to be said by the Pope at Coventry airport next Whit Sunday. The pageant will begin at 7.30 am.
The pageant is one of the remarkable details announced last week by the coordinators of the Pope's visit to the Birmingham Province. which also includes the dioceses of Clifton. Shrewsbury, Nottingham, Northamptonshire and East Anglia. The schoolchildren will represent in their marchpast events as diverse as the bombing of Coventry Cathedral. the life of St Osburg, St Thomas More and Henry VIII. Archbishop Ullathorne and the rise of Wesley.
The pageant will he directed by Mr Harry Mellon of Cardinal Newman School Coventry and schools involved in the music will include St Thomas More, Langton. St John Fisher, Newcastle-under-Lyme, St Paul's Leicester, Our Lady of the Wayside Primary, Shirley. St Chad's. Runcorn. Trinity, Aspley, St Augustine's Primary, Handsworth. Blessed George Napier, Banbury. and St Thomas More, Crewe.
The organisers stress that the £600,000 arrangements, including the provision of corrals for 560.000 and toilets for 2.000 will provide local employment. Above the 16-foot platform where Cardinal Hume will say Mass with the Pope and the next Archbishop of Birmingham, an image intensifier measuring 20 by 30 feet will relay a picture of the Pope for distant viewers.
More than 6.000 stewards are being recruited to ensure that people of good will are able to join His Holiness with devotion and dignity in the celebration of Holy Mass." The diocese has appointed a committee of 30 to deal with practical preparations.
Some 25 Anglican bishops have already accepted invitations to the Mass along with other church leaders. Six hundred Catholic priests are expected to concelebrate Mass with the Pope. The Pope will drive between the 560 corrals of people so that everyone may see him.