Dozens of people from all over Britain came to Birmingham Oratory at the weekend to pray for the Canonisation of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, who was Beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in Birmingham.
The day began with Solemn High Mass with Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham Robert Byrne as the main celebrant. At the start of the Mass, Bishop Byrne read out a message that had been sent to him on behalf of the Pope.
“The Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing upon all those persons who are participating in this significant event and working in any way for the Canonisation of Blessed John Henry Newman.”
After the Mass, I asked Bishop Byrne “What message do you think should be taken away from this event, for today’s society?”
“Well, first of all I’d like to say I’m delighted to be here where I started my priestly life as an Oratorian, to come back to the Birmingham Oratory and to see it flourishing again.”
“What we want to take back? I think we want to take back the message of Cardinal Newman, which is a message for the Church today. It’s a message of Faith, and it’s a message of love.”
“ It’s a message of faith in that Cardinal Newman teaches us really how to live by Faith. He teaches us how to look at the face of Christ, and follow Him, and that is very much in the spirit of the New Evangelisation.”
“And love – he was a great pastor. He was a man who throughout his life, both as an Anglican and as a Catholic, gave himself for his people. Certainly, when he was Vicar of Littlemore, he did a lot to help the poor, to bring people to a closer relationship with Christ, and here in Birmingham too he did so much to bring the Gospel to people, firstly in Alcester Street and then secondly when the community moved here in the early 1850s, to the people of Edgbaston, so Newman is very much a man of our time, he’s very much a man who has much to say to us today. “
After lunch, the participants heard an inspirational and enlightening talk given by Birmingham Oratory Provost Father Ignatius Harrison about the process of canonisation, and why Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman should be canonised.
The day was organised by the “Friends of Cardinal Newman.” For more information or to get involved, please email friends@birmingham oratory.co.uk , or visit the website at www.birminghamoratory.org.uk.