Deacon Jack Sullivan, whose miraculous healing in 2001 is the basis for Newman’s Beatification next year, has arrived in England on a short visit. Later this week he will visit the Birmingham Oratory (UK), in a event which the Boston deacon has said will be ‘the greatest moment of my life’. His wife Carol will be accompanying him throughout the visit. His wife Carol will be accompanying him throughout the visit.
On Monday and Tuesday, Jack Sullivan is visiting London, the place of Newman’s birth, where the Archbishop of Westminster Most Rev Vincent Nichols has invited him to a press conference and Mass at Westminster Cathedral this evening.
On Tuesday evening he will give the Catholic Truth Society 2009 Lecture at the London Oratory in Brompton, the second Oratory founded in England by John Henry Newman, in 1849. Father Ian Ker, the internationally renowned Newman scholar, will be giving an introductory address.
On Wednesday and Thursday Deacon Sullivan will visit Cardinal Newman’s room, assist at Mass in his private chapel, and visit his library, a collection of international importance. At the Birmingham Oratory, he will give the only two personal interviews that will be conducted during his visit to the UK, for the Catholic News Service (US) and EWTN. It was after watching an EWTN broadcast about Newman in 2000 that Jack started praying to Newman for his spinal condition to be healed. Jack wrote down the address of the Birmingham Oratory, heralding the beginning of his Providential connection with Newman’s own community.
Jack Sullivan will also be deacon at Mass in the Church of the Oratory, otherwise known as ‘Little Rome’, in Edgbaston. He will also visit Rednal, where Newman was buried in 1890, on the edge of Birmingham.
From Thursday to Saturday Deacon Sullivan will be staying at Littlemore, where Newman made his first confession and was received into ‘the one true fold of the Redeemer’, the Catholic Church, in 1845. He will pay visits to Trinity and Oriel Colleges.
On Saturday he will visit the Oxford Oratory, founded in 1990, which fulfilled Newman’s hopes of an Catholic Oratory in his own university city.
Newman retained an abiding affection for Oxford, writing of it in his 1875 Letter to the Duke of Norfolk: “No one mourns, for instance, more than I, over the state of Oxford, given up, alas! to ‘liberalism and progress,’ to the forfeiture of her great medieval motto, ‘Dominus illuminatio mea’ [‘The Lord is my Light’]”.
Brother Lewis Berry writes: "When Jack Sullivan exercises his diaconate at Mass at the Birmingham Oratory at 12.45pm on Wednesday 11 November, he will do so at the Oratory’s ad orientem (east-facing) High altar. This traditional position for Catholic altars has, exceptionally, been preserved at the Birmingham Oratory. Pope Benedict XVI has often spoken of the deep theological and spiritual significance of celebrating Mass ad orientem, and of what has been lost through the current practice of celebrating Mass facing the people. Anticipating a Papal visit to England next year, Wednesday’s Mass links in a special way Newman’s Beatification to Benedict XVI’s own ‘hermeneutic of continuity’."
Father Paul Chavasse, Actor of Newman’s Cause, and Postulator-General of the Oratorian Confederation, said: “Deacon Jack Sullivan’s visit to England will be a special opportunity for English Catholics to discover more about the fascinating figure of Newman, to learn that he is an intercessor in their needs, and to renew their devotion and obedience to the Vicar of Christ, whose anticipated visit to the UK will be a powerful affirmation of the universal value of Newman’s path to the Catholic religion.”
The story of Deacon Jack Sullivan's miraculous cure is told in 'A Story of a Miracle' edited by Peter Jennings, is available at: www.cts-online.org.uk/acatalog/info_B707.html
A limited number of signed copies of 'Benedict XVI & Cardinal Newman' (2005) - edited by Peter Jennings, are available on-line from www.peterjennings.co.uk/store
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