Sunday, November 15, 2009

Revisiting Newman's Oxford Past

Continuing our coverage of the Rev. Mr. Jack Sullivan's pilgrimage to sites related to Newman, he recently visited Oxford.

On Thursday evening Jack was the guest of honour at a dinner in Trinity College, given by College President Sir Ivor Roberts. Newman was an undergraduate at Trinity in 1817, before winning a Fellowship at Oriel College in 1822. In 1887 Trinity elected Newman to its very first honorary fellowship. Present at the dinner was Princess Michael of Kent, a Newman devotee and friend of the Birmingham Oratory. Among other guests were the Catholic Chaplain to the University, Father John Moffatt, S.J., and Father Paul Chavasse, Actor of Newman’s Cause and Provost of the Birmingham Oratory.

On Friday Jack attended a reception at Oriel College, where as a Fellow he had a powerful academic and religious influence on his students and colleagues. Jack then visited the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, where Newman was Vicar from 1828-43. It was here that Newman preached many of his famous Parochial and Plain Sermons...

On Friday afternoon Jack returned to Trinity to view Newman’s own rooms, the Newman family Bible and a copy of the Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine (1845) that he presented to the College.

On Saturday morning Jack visited the Oxford Oratory, where he was at the Deacon at the 10am Mass, celebrated by the Parish Priest, Father Daniel Seward. The Church of St Aloysius was served for most of its history by the Society of Jesus, who welcomed Newman himself to their Church to preach in 1880. The creation of the Oratory there in 1993 was the fulfilment of Newman’s desire to establish a Catholic mission in the city. In 1882 Newman wrote to Lord Braye: “The cardinal question for the moment is the Oxford question … The Undergraduates and Junior Fellows are like sheep without a shepherd. They are sceptics or inquirers, quite open for religious influences. It is a moment for the Catholic Mission in Oxford to seize an opportunity which never may come again … The Liberals are sweeping along in triumph, without any Catholic or religious influence to stem them now that Pusey and Liddon [Anglo-Catholic leaders] are gone.”

Read the whole story: Revisiting Newman’s past, his work goes on: Deacon Jack Sullivan in Oxford

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