Wednesday, August 11, 2010

John Henry Newman's Feast Day?

John Henry Cardinal Newman died on August 11, 1890. The Times of London reported his death on August 12:

"We have to record, with feelings of the most sincere regret, the death of His Eminence Cardinal Newman. He died last evening at the Oratory, Edgbaston, in his 90th year, after less than three days' illness. The Cardinal has for many years manifested the feebleness of advanced age, although he has fully retained his mental faculties, and has rallied in a wonderful manner from more than one severe illness. . . .

"The medical attendants have issued the following account of their patient's last illness. "The Oratory, August 11, 1890. His Eminence Cardinal Newman was seized with inflammation of the right lung at 2 o'clock a.m. on Sunday, August 10. He very rapidly became worse until this evening at 8:45, when he expired. His Eminence expressed himself as feeling quite well an hour before this attack occurred.—G. Vernon Blunt, M.D.; C. H. Jenner Hogg, M.R.C.S.E." The private prayers of the congregation were asked for the Cardinal at the Oratory Church on Sunday, and in the evening there were numerous and anxious inquiries respecting him. He will be buried at the little country retreat of the Oratorians, at Rednall, where there is a private cemetery and chapel. The body will be exposed in the Oratory Church from noon today until it is removed for burial. The date of the funeral is not yet fixed."

Next year, this could be his Feast Day! (St. Clare of Assisi is already honored on that day, however.) I presume he will be added to the National Calendar for England and Wales and that there will be other projects to honor his beatification.

The Catholic Herald posted this story about the shrines to be built in his honor at the three Oratories in England: Birmingham, Oxford, and London.

"The Birmingham Oratory
In Birmingham, St Philip Neri’s chapel on the south side of the high altar is to be re-dedicated to Newman and contain his relics.

"The Oxford Oratory
The Oxford Oratory has major, long-term plans to include a new chapel designed by Anthony Delarue in their extension to the north-west end of St Aloysius church. . . .They have designed a temporary shrine dedicated to Newman to go into the chapel, with a reredos in the form of a copy of the Ouless portrait, contained in an elegant Classical aedicule. It promises to be a fitting anticipation of a permanent memorial to Newman in Oxford.

"The London Oratory
The London Oratory has commissioned a new chapel to be dedicated to Newman, designed by Russell Taylor, one of the most distinguished Classical architects currently working in Britain, to be situated beneath the organ loft in the south aisle, and replaces the Calvary chapel."

John Henry Newman, pray for us!

Don't forget that I'll be on the Son Rise Morning Show today!


  1. I've been told that Newman's feast day will likely be the date of his conversion to Catholicism, October 9.

  2. Thank you, Anonymous, for that insight. That's an odd date, though, and does not fit the usual pattern for feast days, especially for a saint whose record is plain. If August 11th is passed over because of St. Clare of Assisi, I'd think it would be more likely that the date of his burial or the transfer of the (few) relics of his grave from Rednal to the Birmingham Oratory would be selected. We will just have to wait and see!