Archbishop Nichols pays tribute to world-renowned Newman scholar

 Gerard David Tracey, archivist at the Birmingham Oratory, and world-renowned Newman scholar, died in City hospital, Birmingham, on Monday 20 January, aged 48. He was born on 9 March 1954. He succeeded Fr Stephen Dessain as archivist in 1976. A Requiem Mass was celebrated for Gerard at the Oratory on Friday 31 January. The chief celebrant was Fr Paul Chavasse, Provost and Postulator for the Newman cause. Gerard Tracey was buried in the graveyard at the Oratory House, Rednal, on the outskirts of Birmingham. The following tribute from the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Birmingham, was read during the Mass: The name of Gerard Tracey is linked in so many ways with the world of Newman studies. We should not forget, however, the particular debt of gratitude owed to him by the Archdiocese of Birmingham. This is in connection with the Cause for Cardinal Newman's Canonisation. When the Cause was re-opened in 1980, Gerard Tracey became a member of the three-man Historical Commission, which was charged with assembling all the material for the Diocesan Process of the Cause, which is the first and crucial stage in advancing a candidate for sainthood. Given the amount of documentation involved this was an enormous task, and the fact that it was completed by 1986, and that the work was so well done, is due in large part to Gerard's vision of what had to be done, as well as being the fruit of the enormous dedication and scholarly expertise he brought to this work. Gerard's knowledge of Cardinal Newman and his times was legendary, and he gave of his time and shared his knowledge with those who sought it. It will be hard to find anyone who will be an adequate replacement. I extend my sympathy and prayers to his family and friends, especially to his Mother and to the Fathers of the Oratory at this time of your sad loss."

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