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Stamp of approval for Cardinal Newman and Papal visit

 Archbishop  Longley with the miniature sheet and presentation pack. Picture by Peter Jennings

Archbishop Longley with the miniature sheet and presentation pack. Picture by Peter Jennings

Two postage stamps depicting photographs of Cardinal Newman, one never published before, and a stamp label showing Pope Benedict XVI, are included in a miniature sheet to be issued by the Isle of Man Post Office on Wednesday 11 August, the 120th Anniversary of the death of Cardinal Newman.

The two £1.50 special stamps received Royal Approval from HM The Queen and include the Royal Cipher.  

The miniature sheet is being issued to commemorate the State Visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom, 16-19 September, and the Beatification of Cardinal Newman, 1801-1890, at Cofton Park, Birmingham, on Sunday 19 September.

Isle of Man Stamps & Coins is now working with the Vatican Post Office to produce a limited edition souvenir first day cover and joint special hand stamp postmark to commemorate the Beatification of Cardinal Newman on 19 September 2010.

The  left hand stamp depicts a previously unknown original photograph of Cardinal Newman taken by H J Whitlock, Photographers, New Street, Birmingham, and signed by Cardinal Newman, aged 82, at the Oratory House on Passion Sunday, 11 March 1883, for a visitor.

The right hand stamp shows an original photograph of Dr Newman taken c. 1866 by McLean & Haes, Photographers, Haymarket, London.  

The picture of Pope Benedict XVI by this correspondent on the stamp label was taken during a General Audience in St Peter's Square, Rome on Wednesday 10 June 2009.

John Henry Newman was the greatest English religious figure of the 19th century. Today he is  known world-wide as one of the foremost theologians of the Catholic Church and a prolific writer - he left more than 30,000 letters - but most of all he is revered as a much loved holy parish priest in Birmingham. Cardinal Newman died in his room at the Oratory House, Edgbaston, aged 89, on Monday 11 August 1890.

The miniature sheet, a presentation pack and a first day cover and insert were printed well ahead of the four-day visit of Pope Benedict to Scotland and England and before the announcement on 24 June that the Holy See had requested a change of venue for the Beatification of Cardinal Newman from Coventry Airport to Cofton Park Birmingham.

The miniature sheet wrongly refers to the beatification of Cardinal Newman taking place: "at Coventry Airport, 19 September 2010."

These special stamps depicting Cardinal Newman will be collected and treasured by stamp collectors and non collectors alike throughout the world. The inclusion of the Coventry Airport venue will add philatelic interest.

The commemorative stamps and related products were the idea of this correspondent, a Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society London, who wrote the text and supplied the pictures to Isle for Man Stamps and Coins and worked with designer Stacey Smith at Isle of Man Advertising & PR Ltd.

The miniature sheet was launched by Archbishop Bernard Longley at the end of a press conference about the Papal Visit to the Archdiocese of Birmingham held at Cathedral House, Birmingham, on Friday 23 July.

Archbishop Longley said: "Once again postage stamps show their remarkable ability to inform and raise people's awareness of historic celebrations or important national and local events.

"Isle of Man Stamps and Coins are to be congratulated on these engaging and imaginative stamps included in a special miniature sheet to commemorate the State Visit of Pope Benedict XVI and the Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman.

"This is first time that that a Pope has been welcomed to the United Kingdom on a State Visit and these stamps highlight the importance of such a visit for UK and Isle of Man citizens within and beyond the Catholic Church."

The Archbishop of Birmingham added: "The Beatification of Cardinal Newman promotes this man of God as an example of holiness and as the bearer of truth. He is a figure of international significance and these Isle of Man stamps will introduce Cardinal Newman and his witness to goodness and truth, to many people throughout the world who may not yet know him."

The back of the special first day cover includes a specially written "Welcome to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI" by Cardinal Keith O'Brien and Archbishop Vincent Nichols.
For further information please see Isle of Man Stamps and Coins website:  www.gov.im/post/stamps