The Catholic Parish of
Saint John Henry Newman

 Covering most of East Leeds

Get to know our Parish Saint – Who was Cardinal Newman?

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In our eighth instalment of Newman's life, we examine Newman's crisis of faith..

Episode 8 - Newman's work with the people

Much is known about Newman the thinker and scholar, but what of the man who connected with other people? Newman was brought up in a close-knit family with two brothers and three sisters. When he chose ordination he did not see this (as many did) as the choice of a decent profession but as a dedication to be a pastor of souls. He was always the most pastoral of priests - first as curate in a humble parish in Oxford, where he visited assiduously and really got to know his people. He loved his parish in Littlemore and hated to lose it. In Birmingham he and his fellow Oratorians learnt what poverty was like in the great cities. They had to endure the stench of the place and the danger of catching fleas, but they were happy because of the number flocking to their church. When a prominent cleric invited him to preach in Rome to respectable and educated crowd he declined, saying "Birmingham people have souls." A concise and telling snub.

Newman was constant in intercessory prayer and wrote many notes to remind himself that prayer was needed for this or that person. He often prayed for babies and young children whose lives were in danger.

Newman also had a very particular way of celebrating Mass. A certain lady commented "His saying of Mass is most striking. I do not know what makes the difference, but one is conscious of a difference. It appeared to me very unearthly."

J H Newman portrait

Next week: A Second Spring: Newman and the renewal of Catholicism

Published Sat 7th Sep 2019 21:57:37
Last Modified on Sat 7th Sep 2019 22:04:05

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