Deacon Jack Sullivan - cured through intercession of Cardinal Newman - to visit England

Deacon Jack Sullivan.  Picture by Peter Jennings

Deacon Jack Sullivan. Picture by Peter Jennings

Jack Sullivan, the American Permanent Deacon, who was miraculously cured of a serious spinal disorder through the intercession of Cardinal Newman, in August 2001, has accepted an invitation from Archbishop Vincent Nichols, President of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, to visit London, Birmingham and Oxford, during November.

Deacon Sullivan, aged 70, will be accompanied by his wife Carol for the six-day official visit from Monday 9 to Saturday 14 November, during which time he will have an opportunity to visit places connected with the life of the Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman.

The approval of the miracle of Jack Sullivan's healing by the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints, on 2 June this year, has cleared the way for the beatification of John Henry Newman. The Papal Decree was promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI, a month later on 3 July.

During their time in England Deacon Sullivan and his wife will visit Littlemore, near Oxford, where Newman was received into the Catholic Church by Blessed Dominic Barberi, an Italian Passionist priest, on 9 October 1845.

In the afternoon of Monday,  9 November, Deacon Sullivan will give a press conference at Archbishop’s House, Westminster, chaired by the Archbishop of Westminster. He will not be giving one-to-one interviews.

Afterwards, Archbishop Vincent Nichols will be the principal celebrant at the 5.30pm Sung Mass in Westminster Cathedral, the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica - the Pope’s Cathedral in Rome, that represents every Catholic Church and chapel in the world.

Archbishop Nichols has invited Deacon Sullivan to be deacon at the Mass and also to preach the homily.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols, said: "I am delighted to welcome Deacon Jack Sullivan to this country.  His presence and testimony will help us to understand more deeply the power of prayer and the importance of intercession to those who can pray for us in the presence of God."

The Archbishop of Westminster, added: "I look forward to this celebration of Mass in Westminster Cathedral during which we thank God for the life and witness of Cardinal Newman and the gift of this miracle."

During their time in London Jack and Carol Sullivan will visit the City of London and see the blue plaque on the entrance to the Stock Exchange, the site where John Henry Newman was born on 21 February 1801.

On Tuesday 10 November, Deacon Sullivan and his wife will be hosted by the Catholic Truth Society as guests of Fergal Martin, CTS General Secretary, and Bishop Paul Hendrick, Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark, Chairman of the CTS.

Jack Sullivan will sign copies of the recently published CTS booklet: CARDINAL NEWMAN - THE STORY OF A MIRACLE (Price £1.95), by Catholic journalist, writer and broadcaster, Peter Jennings, who has worked on the Newman Cause since 1975. Foreword by Archbishop Vincent Nichols and Introduction by Fr Paul Chavasse, Provost, The Oratory, Birmingham.

Mr Fergal Martin said: "The Society greatly looks forward to Deacon Jack Sullivan's visit. We are absolutely delighted to publish the account of his miraculous cure - much of the story is in his own words. The Society indeed boasts Cardinal Newman as one of its many celebrated authors over the last 140 years."
The signing will take place at the CTS Bookshop situated in the Piazza in front of Westminster Cathedral, from 11am – 12.45pm on Tuesday 10 November.

In a subsequent email to the author, quoted in the booklet, Jack Sullivan wrote: "Carol and I very much look forward to visiting the Birmingham Oratory and other places connected with Cardinal Newman. In particular, I wish to come close to him, the person that I most admire, by visiting the Oratory he founded, his room and his chapel, and by standing before the grave where he was buried."

Jack Sullivan will give the Catholic Truth Society Lecture 2009, at 6 pm on 10 November, at a venue in central London yet to be confirmed. During the lecture Jack Sullivan will talk frankly about his illness, his devotion to Cardinal Newman, his intercession to Cardinal Newman and his miraculous cure that took place in Boston on 15 August 2001, the Feast of the Assumption. He will also answer questions from members of the audience.

After the lecture Jack and Carol Sullivan will travel to Birmingham, where they will be welcomed by Fr Paul Chavasse, Provost of the Birmingham Oratory and Actor of the Newman Cause.

On Wednesday 11 November Deacon Sullivan and his wife, as guests of the community of the Birmingham Oratory, will have an opportunity to visit the Oratory House opened by Fr Newman in February 1852, and where he died on Monday, 11 August 1890, aged 89.
Jack and Carol will visit Cardinal Newman's Library, his room and the private Chapel where he celebrated Mass.  They will be shown the Cloisters and the adjoining Cardinal Newman Memorial Church, built after his death on the site of the old, much smaller church.

The Sullivans will also visit the Oratory House at Rednal, situated on the outskirts of Birmingham where they will see the secluded community grave yard where Cardinal
Newman was buried.

On Thursday 12 November Deacon Sullivan and his wife will be the guests of Bishop William Kenney, CP, Diocesan Administrator of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, who will entertain them to lunch.

Bishop Kenney will talk to Jack and Carol about the Beatification Ceremony of Cardinal Newman that will take place in the Archdiocese on a Sunday in late May or early June 2010.

Bishop William Kenney, said: "I am delighted and honoured to have Deacon Jack Sullivan and his wife as my guests. Meeting someone whom God has cured from a serious illness brings home to me and to all believing Christians that God is always part of our lives but also that God is the Lord and source of all life."

Bishop Kenney added: "I am looking forward to the Beatification of John Henry Newman, when I will again have the privilege of welcoming Jack and Carol as guests of the Archdiocese of Birmingham."

During the afternoon Bishop Kenney will accompany Jack and Carol Sullivan to Littlemore and introduce them to the Sisters of The Spiritual Family The Work.  Mr and Mrs Sullivan will spend two nights at Littlemore.

On Friday 13 November, Deacon Sullivan and his wife will have an opportunity to see something of Oxford before visiting Oriel College - where Newman was a Tutor and a Fellow -  as the guest of Sir Derek Morris, the Provost, who will entertain them to lunch.

Jack & Carol will also visit Trinity College where Newman was elected a scholar - and years later in 1877 became the first Honorary Fellow -  as the guest of Sir Ivor Roberts, the Master.

On Saturday 14 November the last day of their official visit to England, Jack and Carol Sullivan will be guests of Fr Robert Byrne, Provost of the Oxford Oratory. Deacon Sullivan will be deacon at the 10am Mass – the second day of the Forty Hours Devotion.

After Mass, Deacon Jack Sullivan and his wife will have an opportunity to meet with parishioners of the Oxford Oratory Parish, before they return to London, and home to the USA. 

For more information on the CTS booklet see:

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