Birmingham: translation of remains of Cardinal Newman

 The casket containing relics of the Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), along with items recovered from his grave at Rednal, were solemnly placed in the chapel of St Charles Borromeo, at the end of an historic High Mass of All Saints, celebrated by Archbishop Vincent Nichols,
in Latin, at the Birmingham Oratory, Edgbaston, on Sunday 2 November.

The remains were carried in solemn procession from the Upper Cloister Hall, where many people had prayed in their presence for Cardinal Newman's speedy beatification, into the Newman Memorial Church, where they were placed on a catafalque in front of the chapel of St Philip Neri (1515-1595) who founded the Congregation of the Oratory.

The relics, including a lock of Cardinal Newman's hair, were surrounded by unbleached candles, traditionally used to mark the presence of the remains
of a Christian who has died, but is not yet honoured by the Church as a saint.

After Holy Communion, the Archbishop of Birmingham, accompanied by Fr Chavasse, Provost of the Birmingham Oratory and Postulator of the Newman
Cause, along with clergy and servers, processed to the catafalque where the Newman relics were incensed. The casket was then carried by bearers at the head of the procession to its resting place in the Chapel of St Charles Borromeo to the right of the sanctuary. Charles Borromeo was a contemporary and friend of St Philip Neri, and was Archbishop of Milan from 1563 until his death in 1584. His feast day is kept on 4 November.

Archbishop Nichols led the congregation in the special prayer for the Beatification of the Servant of God, John Henry Cardinal Newman before the
concluding rite of the Mass.

The Casket reliquary will remain in the chapel while the meticulous step-by-step process towards Cardinal Newman's Beatification continues in Rome.

Fr Paul Chavasse preached an important sermon about the cult of the saints and its meaning for the Church today.

He concluded: "Today's ceremony marks an important moment in the history of the Cause for the Cardinal's Beatification. That event lies in the future. As most of you know, we still await the completion of the final stages of the process in Rome. As much as we would like it to be otherwise, these cannot be hurried and the due process takes its time. We are often asked and many times this week alone when will it be? All I can say is, and it is only a guess, that if the remaining stages are successfully and smoothly passed, we may have the joy of a beatification ceremony round about this time next year. So we must pray, and pray hard, for that to happen the great desire of so many people."

Among the concelebrants at Mass were Bishop David McGough, Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham; Fr Gregory Winterton, the former Provost who revitalized the Newman Cause during the mid-1970's at the request of Pope Paul VI; Fr Edoardo Cerrato, Provost of the Roman Oratory, Fr Robert Byrne, Provost of the Oxford Oratory; Fr Ignatius Harrison, Provost of the London Oratory; Fr Werner Brahtz from the Vienna Oratory, who was representing the Apostolic Delegate to the Confederation of the Oratory, Father Felix Selden; Fr Keith Beaumont, Oratoire de France; Mgr Anthony Stark, Chairman, Friends of Cardinal Newman. Also concelebrating were the well-known Newman scholars Fr Ian Ker and Mgr Roderick Strange, Rector of the Beda College, Rome.

Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent was in the front row of the congregation with the British Ambassador to the Holy See, Francis Campbell; the Lord Mayor of Birmingham and Lady Mayoress; the President of Trinity College, Oxford, Sir Ivor Roberts, the former British Ambassador to Italy; and the Provost of Oriel College Oxford, Sir Derek Morris. Among representatives from the Church of England was the Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, Geoffrey Rowell. Also present was Mr Geoffrey Thomas, the grandson of Cardinal Newman's sister Jemima, who married John Mozley.

The magnificent Oratory Choir sang the Kyrie, Gloria and Angus Dei from the Coronation Mass by Mozart. During the Offertory they sang "Gaudeamus omnes in Domino" by William Byrd. During Communion the choir sang the Motet "Justorum animae" by Charles Villiers Stanford.

The choir, celebrants, servers and members of the congregation joined in Cardinal Newman's great hymn, "Praise to the Holiest in the Height" as the
final procession made its way off the sanctuary.

The beautiful white and gold vestments, the wonderful music, the candles and the white lilies on the sanctuary all helped to make this particular Mass of All Saints a deeply prayerful, moving and memorable occasion.

After Mass, HRH Princess Michael of Kent was shown round Cardinal Newman's Room and Chapel by Fr Paul Chavasse and Br Lewis Berry, a member of the Community at Edgbaston. The Princess, who is taking a close personal interest in the Cause for the Beatification of the great English Cardinal,
then spent some time visiting Newman's library, where she also met Pushkin the Oratory cat.

The Mass and "Translation of Remains from the Grave of Cardinal Newman" was broadcast live throughout the world on the American Catholic television station EWTN, Global Catholic Network, founded by Mother Angelica, based in Birmingham Alabama.

The broadcast (repeated at 6pm BST) lasted for two hours and opened with three interviews, recorded by this correspondent in St Philip's Chapel at the Birmingham Oratory the previous day. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, revealed how he first became interested in Newman and his significance to the Catholic Church, not only in England but throughout the world.

Dr Frank McGrath, Editor of the last three volumes of The Letters And Diaries of John Henry Newman, explained the background to this series of 32
volumes published between 1961 and 9 October this year.

Fr Chavasse, Postulator of the Newman Cause answered questions about the progress of the Cause in Rome, the exhumation of the remains at Rednal and the relics that were to be translated into the Oratory Church the following day.

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