Thursday, July 29, 2010

Newman Shrine, The Church of Our Saviour, New York City

Yesterday, we spoke of the three Newman chapels which are being planned for the Birmingham, London and Oxford Oratories. But of course, interest in and devotion to the person of Cardinal Newman extends well beyond the borders of the United Kingdom to other parts of the world.

Today the NLM is pleased to share news of a Newman shrine which is being erected at the Church of Our Saviour, New York City, where Fr. George William Rutler is the parish priest -- and incidentally, the NLM's own Matthew Alderman is also involved in the project:

A memorial bust of John Henry Newman in the Church of Our Saviour, New York City, will be dedicated by Archbishop Timothy Dolan at a service of Vespers and Benediction on Thursday, September 23 at 6 PM. The parish is a center of many university scholars, students and converts. This memorial will be a center of prayer and thanksgiving for the beatification of the Cardinal.

The shrine is in the place of one of four confessionals. Many confessions are heard daily in the parish. This fourth confessional, after Vatican II, was enlarged to serve as a Reconciliation Room with chairs and other furnishings. Later, that use was ended and the space served for storage. It visually blocked the St. Jude shrine. The carvings have been preserved and the original woodwork has been restored to its original dimensions.

The architectural design is the work of Joel Pidel. The cartouche and other elements were crafted by Matthew Alderman. Both are parishioners of the Church of Our Saviour and studied at the University of Notre Dame, whose former Dean, Thomas Gordon Smith, studied architecture in Rome while his friend Father Rutler was studying theology there at the same time. They have collaborated on various projects.

The bust is the work of the Arrigihni studios of Pietrasanta in Tuscany. It is of the Carrera marble from the quarries used by Michelangelo, and is the second study done of Newman, an earlier one is now in the libary of Newman's library at Littlemore outside Oxford. Father Rutler consulted on the present sculpture, working from a clay model. and also did the gold leafing and decoration of the shrine.

Gifts received have enabled this project to be completed. Friends of Newman may wish to celebrate his beatification by contributing to the parish's Seminarians' Fund. In recent years, eight young men in the parish have been ordained, are in seminary, or are preparing for seminary.

Once the shrine is complete, the NLM will certainly provide you with photos. However, we are pleased to be able to present you with some of the conceptual sketches to give you a sense of the Newman shrine at the Church of the Saviour.

If others also are intending any similar sorts of project as this, or as at the English Oratories, please do write to us.

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