Today we celebrate the first liturgical feast of Blessed John Henry Newman.
Newman was beatified by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in Crofton Park, Birmingham during his recent visit to Great Britain. On that occasion the Holy Father said
He lived out that profoundly human vision of priestly ministry in his devoted care for the people of Birmingham during the years that he spent at the Oratory he founded, visiting the sick and the poor, comforting the bereaved, caring for those in prison. No wonder that on his death so many thousands of people lined the local streets as his body was taken to its place of burial not half a mile from here. One hundred and twenty years later, great crowds have assembled once again to rejoice in the Church’s solemn recognition of the outstanding holiness of this much-loved father of souls. What better way to express the joy of this moment than by turning to our heavenly Father in heartfelt thanksgiving, praying in the words that Blessed John Henry Newman placed on the lips of the choirs of angels in heaven:
Praise to the Holiest in the height
And in the depth be praise;
In all his words most wonderful,
Most sure in all his ways!
(The Dream of Gerontius).
On this great day for the Church in England and for the Congregation of the Oratory we especially greet our friends at the oratories of London, Oxford and Birmingham.
Blessed John Henry Newman, pray for us!
(Texts for the Mass and Office can be found here)