HUNDREDS of York and North Yorkshire residents are going to see Pope Benedict XVI when he visits the UK in September.

Roman Catholics have been registering to attend a number of events being held across the country when the pontiff arrives, the communications officer for the Middlesbrough diocese, Dr Jim Whiston, said.

On Friday, September 17, the Pope will meet 3,000 young people to celebrate Catholic education at The Big Assembly at St Mary’s University College in Twickenham, London.

About 130 children are attending from the diocese, including pupils from All Saints’ RC School and St Wilfrid’s RC Primary School in York, and Ampleforth’s St Benedict’s RC Primary School.

In addition, he said the diocese’s youth service was taking 50 children to Westminster Cathedral on the Saturday, where Pope Benedict will celebrate Mass.

The diocese has organised coaches to take parties of pilgrims from St Wilfrid’s Church in York and Our Lady’s in Acomb to two further events.

About 400 people from the diocese have signed up to go to an open air prayer vigil in Hyde Park, London, on Saturday, September 18.

On Sunday, September 19, a further 150 will attend the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, at Cofton Park, Birmingham, near where the influential cardinal was buried.

Dr Whiston said the numbers of people signing up to the events was coming in “thick and fast”, and the diocese had to extend the deadline for registering to Friday.

Registering with the diocese is the first part of a security process and people must then wait to hear that they have been cleared to attend.

He said: “The reaction to the events has been very good.

“The numbers are increasing all the time and there are significant numbers from York going.”