Blessed John Henry Newman
National Calendar for England
Blessed John Henry Newman was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI at a Mass in Cofton Park, Birmingham on Sunday 19 September 2010. At the request of the Bishops he has been included in the National Calendar for England on 9 October as an optional memorial.
Pope Benedict in his homily at the Mass of Beatification said:
Cardinal Newman's motto, Cor ad cor loquitur, or "Heart speaks unto heart", gives us an insight into his understanding of the Christian life as a call to holiness, experienced as the profound desire of the human heart to enter into intimate communion with the Heart of God. He reminds us that faithfulness to prayer gradually transforms us into the divine likeness. As he wrote in one of his many fine sermons, "a habit of prayer, the practice of turning to God and the unseen world in every season, in every place, in every emergency — prayer, I say, has what may be called a natural effect in spiritualizing and elevating the soul. A man is no longer what he was before; gradually — he has imbibed a new set of ideas, and become imbued with fresh principles" (Parochial and Plain Sermons, iv, 230-231). Today's Gospel tells us that no one can be the servant of two masters (cf. Lk 16:13), and Blessed John Henry's teaching on prayer explains how the faithful Christian is definitively taken into the service of the one true Master, who alone has a claim to our unconditional devotion (cf. Mt 23:10). Newman helps us to understand what this means for our daily lives: he tells us that our divine Master has assigned a specific task to each one of us, a "definite service", committed uniquely to every single person: "I have my mission", he wrote, "I am a link in a chain, a bond of connexion between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do his work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place — if I do but keep his commandments and serve him in my calling" (Meditations and Devotions, 301-2).
- Texts for Mass can be found in the Roman Missal
- Texts for the Office of Readings (pdf) are available
A note on the date
It is customary for a Saint or a Blessed to be celebrated on the day of their death unless it is impeded by another celebration. Blessed John Henry Newman died on 11 August 1890. The Church across the world celebrates St Clare on August 11 and so another date was sought. One of the reasons that 9 October was chosen was because it falls at the beginning of the University year; an area in which Newman had a particular interest.