In my first post as the new Parochial Administrator of St John Henry Newman, Victoria, a quasi-parish of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter, it’s a great joy to be able to celebrate the canonisation today, in Rome, of our parish’s patron by Pope Francis. This happy occasion is the fruit of the many heartfelt prayers and hopes of those who have, since the time of his death, turned to St John Henry for his intercession and protection, not least Deacon Jack Sullivan and Melissa Villalobos, whose miraculous healings were attributed to Newman, and have been the cause of him being raised to the altars of the Church.
We are blessed in Victoria to have him as our patron and we mark this momentous day with a polyphonic setting of the Mass by Tomas Luis de Victoria, the Missa O Quam Gloriosum, a Solemn Te Deum, and the veneration of a first class relic of the saint following Mass, gifted to our community by the Oratorians in Manchester. Praise to the holiest in the height!
‘On the one hand Cardinal Newman was above all a modern man, who lived the whole problem of modernity; he faced the problem of agnosticism, the impossibility of knowing God, of believing. He was a man whose whole life was a journey, a journey in which he allowed himself to be transformed by truth in a search marked by great sincerity and great openness, so as to know better and to find and accept the path that leads to true life. This interior modernity, in his being and in his life, demonstrates the modernity of his faith. It is not a faith of formulas of past ages; it is a very personal faith, a faith lived, suffered and found in a long path of renewal and conversion. He was a man of great culture, who on the other hand shared in our sceptical culture of today, in the question whether we can know something for certain regarding the truth of man and his being, and how we can come to convergent probabilities. He was a man with a great culture and knowledge of the Fathers of the Church. He studied and renewed the interior genesis of faith and recognized its inner form and construction. He was a man of great spirituality, of humanity, of prayer, with a profound relationship with God, a personal relationship, and hence a deep relationship with the people of his time and ours. So I would point to these three elements: modernity in his life with the same doubts and problems of our lives today; his great culture, his knowledge of the treasures of human culture, openness to permanent search, to permanent renewal and, spirituality, spiritual life, life with God; these elements give to this man an exceptional stature for our time. That is why he is like a Doctor of the Church for us and for all, and also a bridge between Anglicans and Catholics’.
Pope Benedict XVI
Fr Lee Kenyon