A CATHOLIC youth group has expressed grave concern over rumours that there will be no national youth event during the Pope's visit next year. The Catholic Association of Young Adults, a new organisation which holds retreats. renewal weekends and rallies for young people, has written to Cardinal Hume, its patron. to express concern about the lack of plans for a Galway-style youth gathering.
In a statement at the end of a national youth rally in Westminster Cathedral last Saturday attended by about 1,000 young people between 16 and 25, members of the executive committee said, "The CAN'A was concerned about rumours that the schedule for the Pope's visit to Britain would not include an event for young people.
"It was rumoured that the decision to omit an event specifically aimed at young people from the schedule was the result of' experience gained during the Pope's visit to Ireland in 1979. The enthusiasm engendered by his message to the young people of Ireland was followed by a feeling of anticlimax because of little effective follow-up in the months afterwards.
"We believe that this would not be the case in Britain. This view is shared by the Catholic Youth Service Council and the Catholic Youth Service Council and the Conference of Diocesan N'outh Officers."
Mgr Ralph Brown, the national co-ordinator for the papal trip to England and Wales, said this week: "So far 'as 1 know, the bishops have not ruled out a youth event." And other sources said it was still very likely that one would be arranged.
Pope John Paul II is expected to celebrate Mass on a runway at Coventry Airport, Baginton, during his pastoral visit to England in 1982.
The venue, subject to papal approval, was agreed by the committee coordinating the Pope's visit to the West Midlands. Baginton was the home of the 308 Polish squadron during the Second World War.
According to Mgr Thomas Gavin, Provincial Coordinator, West Midlands, when the Pope visits the West Midlands, Catholics will be responsible for footing the bill.
Baginton is near the A45. A number of West Midlands Passenger Transport buses will ferry people from local railway stations (principally Coventry & Rugby) to the airport. The Pope is expected to come by helicopter.
They really wanted a large Site at Stoneleigh (where the
annual agricultural show is held); certainly somewhere flat and accessible.
A I.iverpool city council spokesman said that whether the papal visit is given a monetary hand-out depends on a majority decision by the Council. "We wouldn't spend money on a royal aedding", he said, "so you'd best draw your own conclusions!"
Possible venues for a Mass would be Haydock Park race
course, an ideal spot, about mid-way between Liverpool and Manchester. Aintree racecourse has also been mooted.