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Scottish faithful will not have to pay to attend papal Mass

Scots attending the papal Mass at Bellahouston Park near Glasgow will not have to pay a fee towards transport costs, the Scottish bishops have said.

Unlike their counterparts in England and Wales, Scottish pilgrims to the big papal event in Scotland, an open-air Mass at Bellahouston Park, will not be charged a £10 or £25 fee.

A spokesman for the Scottish Catholic media office said: “Scottish pilgrims travelling to the papal Mass at Bellahouston Park will not be expected to pay a charge to attend.

“Instead, parishes will be asked to contribute to the overall cost of the event, including transport costs. We hope that spreading the costs in this way will ensure that all those who wish to attend can do so regardless of their means. At the same time, parishioners who are able to make individual financial contributions can of course do so.”

Pilgrims – as those attending the public papal events in England and Wales are called – will be expected to pay £25 towards travel costs to the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman at Cofton Park, Birmingham, and £10 for the prayer vigil in Hyde Park in London.

The 1,000 priests concelebrating in Birmingham will also have to pay, though the 2,000 VIPs attending the events will not.

Those attending the beatification will receive pilgrim packs, which include a CD, a travel card, health and safety information and a Magnificat prayer book.

The Bellahouston Park event, on Thursday, September 16, will be attended by about 100,000 Catholics – more than half of Scotland’s Mass-going population. It will be the biggest outdoor event in Scotland this year.

It is expected that another 140,000 people will line the streets of Edinburgh and be able to welcome the Holy Father as he travels by popemobile through the city.

The biggest event of the trip is likely to be the Hyde Park vigil, which may be attended by up to 130,000 people. The beatification Mass at Cofton Park, meanwhile, is expected to accommodate a crowd of about 80,000.