Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Blessed John Henry Newman's Cause

Matt Swaim and I will discuss Blessed John Henry Newman on the Son Rise Morning Show this morning at 6:45 a.m. Eastern/5:45 a.m. Central. If you aren't up that early, here's a link to their SoundCloud page.

Blessed John Henry Newman's memorial is not on the liturgical calendar of the United States of America, but last year when we attended Noon Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on October 9, the Rector, Father Adam Keiter, chose to celebrate Newman! He cited his right as the celebrant to celebrate Newman's feast because of pastoral need. The theme of his homily was “Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt.”!

Perhaps devotion to Newman is stronger in the USA than it is in the UK, this article from the Catholic Herald suggests: after all, the two miracles (one recognized, the other under investigation) that have resulted from his cause are from the USA:

In 2010, John Henry Newman was the last Englishman to be named Blessed. Newman would appear best placed to become Britain’s next official saint – not least given the backing and resources of a religious congregation, the Oratorians, to facilitate this.

Since his beatification in 2010, there has been a notable increase in the display of images of Blessed John Henry in English churches. It’s less clear whether there has been an increase in large-scale popular devotion to the man. Perhaps this is because much of Newman’s public life and witness is about the intellect. There were no stigmata, no public miracles, no levitations; instead there were builders’ bills, court writs and endless misunderstandings. As a result Newman’s holiness is understated, a quiet but steadfast devotion to God’s will.

There are three stages in the Vatican’s recogition of a saint. First, the Pope declares them Venerable, meaning that they have lived a life of “heroic virtue”. To be beatified, a miracle is usually needed; canonisation requires two. It was thanks to Newman’s prayers that an American deacon, Jack Sullivan, was healed of a crippling spinal condition. In 2016, the Vatican began investigating a possible second miracle: a mother, also in the United States, who was healed during a life-threatening pregnancy. . . .

Tellingly, Newman’s miraculous cure was reported not in his homeland but in the United States. Modern secular Britain seems decidedly uninterested in Catholic saints, or potential ones. Although there has always been popular devotion to saints among British Catholics, such devotion appears less prominent in regard to indigenous men and women who are on their way to being canonised.

Surely, the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, under the spiritual protection of Blessed John Henry Newman, has also contributed to English Catholic devotion to Newman?

In the United States, the presence of Newman Centers at secular universities, the Newman Connection that supports them, books and magazine articles about him, the National Institute for Newman Studies, the Cardinal Newman Society, the Newman Association of America, and the reflections from his works that the Magnificat prayer magazine often selects, keep his name in front of thoughtful Catholics.

Blessed John Henry Newman, pray for us!

Eternal Father, you led JOHN HENRY NEWMAN to follow the kindly light of Truth, and he obediently responded to your heavenly calls at any cost. As writer, preacher, counsellor and educator, as pastor, Oratorian, and servant of the poor he labored to build up your Kingdom.

Grant that through your Vicar on Earth we may hear the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter into the company of the canonized saints.”

May you manifest your Servant’s power of intercession by even extraordinary answers to the prayers of the faithful throughout the world. We pray particularly for our intentions in his name and in the name of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.

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