Pope Francis has announced that the English cardinal, John Henry Newman, one of the most significant figures of the 19th century, will be declared a saint on 13 October 2019 at St Peter’s in Rome.
Newman is the first English person who has lived since the 17th century to be recognised as a saint by the Catholic Church. The last canonisation from the UK was John Ogilvie, the Scottish martyr canonised by Paul VI in 1976. The canonisation of Newman is remarkable given his journey from Anglican priest to cardinal of the Roman Church, while his hymns, poetry and theology have made a global contribution to Christian literature and spirituality for decades.
Newman (1801-1890) was ordained as a Church of England priest and soon became the leader of the Oxford Movement. He converted to Catholicism in 1845. He founded the Oratory in England and was later made a cardinal.
The Rt Rev Christopher Foster, Bishop of Portsmouth and Co-Chair of the English and Welsh Anglican-Roman Catholic Committee, is reported to have said: “The canonisation of Blessed John Henry Newman is very good news for the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and we give thanks with them for this recognition of a holy life formed in both our communions that continues to be an inspiration for us all.
“Both as an Anglican and as a Catholic, his contribution to theology, to education and to the modelling of holiness resonates to this day around the world and across the churches.”
A delegation from the Church of England and Anglican Communion will attend the canonisation in Rome.
Information about Cardinal Newman including details of his life, the process of canonisation, links to his writings as well as photos and videos available to media, can be found at www.newmancanonisation.com.
A few of his many quotes might offer us hope and challenge:
“I sought to hear the voice of God and climbed the topmost steeple, but God declared: “Go down again – I dwell among the people.”
“Ability is sexless.”
“May God support us all the day long, till the shades lengthen, and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done! Then in His mercy may He give us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last.”