Wednesday, October 8, 2014

October 8, 1845, A Rainy Night in Littlemore

Blessed John Henry Newman wrote many letters on October 8, 1845, preparing them to post AFTER he had met with Father Dominic Barberi, Passionist for the purposes of becoming a Catholic. Some were to people who would be happy at the news--some definitely not!

He wrote to:

Edward Badeley (1852 convert)
Mrs. J.W. Bowden
R.W. Church
F.W. Faber (later, Father Faber of the London Oratory)
Mrs. William Froude
Miss M.R. Giberne
H.E. Manning (later Henry Cardinal Manning, Archbishop of Westminster)
Mrs. John Mozley (his sister Jemima)
E.B. Pusey
Charles Russell
M. Watts Russell
Isaac Williams
R. F. Wilson
Mrs. Wood
H.A. Woodgate

It was a dark and stormy night. Father Barberi rode to Littlemore from Aston Hall near Stone in Staffordshire (about 125 miles?) in a covered coach and presented himself at Newman's College in Littlemore soaked and exhausted. Warming himself by the fire, he was stunned when John Henry Newman knelt before him and asked to be received into the Catholic Church. Newman started his general confession that night, finished up the next morning and was received into the Catholic Church (baptized conditionally)--he received his first Holy Communion on October 10 there at Littlemore. Father Barberi had received John Dobree Dalgairns as a Catholic on September 29 and suggested that he should visit Newman again (he had previously in June of 1844) before he left for Belgium. Newman took Barberi's intent to visit a sign that it was time to act and began preparing for his general confession on October 5.

The International Centre for Newman Friends has a great new tradition (!) of an evening walk from Oxford to Littlemore to remember the night Newman asked Barberi to hear his confession:

7:45 pm         Short meditation at St. Aloysius, The Oratory, 25 Woodstock Road
Walk to Littlemore, stopping at places linked to Blessed John Henry Newman and Blessed Dominic Barberi.
9:30 pm         Candle Light Procession from 89, Rose Hill
10:00 pm        Holy Hour with Benediction at the church of Blessed Dominic Barberi. Priests will hear confessions during the Holy Hour.
 Procession to The College – Thanksgiving in Newman’s chapel
You can join at any part of the event.
Light refreshments will be provided afterwards. Before the walk you can leave your car in the car park of Blessed Dominic Barberi Church and take one of the busses (3, 16) from Littlemore to town.

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