Friday, July 17, 2009

Cardinal Newman at Birmingham: His Relics (Part 2 of 3)

The second part of a series on Newman will consider the recently exhumed relics. This particular consideration will be much more brief. Readers will recall that it was reported in October that very little had been able to be recovered. Still, we present to you what we can.

The gravesite itself at Rednal (see right) was quite simple.

One of the items recovered was from the coffin of Newman and which shows the heraldry associated with the cardinalatial dignity, the galero with fifteen tassles. This was surmouted onto a cross with fleur-de-lys.

Also found was the plate which was placed upon Newman's coffin:

The Latin reads:

Eminent [issimus] et Reverend [issimus] Joannes Henricus Newman
Cardinalis Diaconus S Georgii in Velabro
Obiit Die XI August. MDCCCXC

In translation:

The Most Eminent and Most Reverend John Henry Newman
Cardinal Deacon of St George in Velabro
Died 11 August 1890

Something which will feature more prominently once the beatification takes place is this reliquary which now resides, privately, in the Birmingham Oratory, and which contains the most substantial relics of Newman that we have:

Within the reliquary are contained some locks of Newman's hair which had been historically removed from his remains before his burial, soil from the gravesite, a cross which had been worn around Newman's neck when he was buried and which was also recently retrieved from the gravesite, a small piece of material stained with the Cardinal's blood which has recently been received by the Oratory, and a small piece of Newman's clothing recovered from the gravesite.

Part 3 will focus on the liturgical remnants that we have of Newman.

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