Saturday 22 January 2011

Beatification Report - Bl. John Henry Newman Shrine and Exhibits

As part of its celebrations of the beatification of its founder, Cardinal John Henry Newman , the Birmingham Oratory opened its shrine dedicated to Newman.

The first pilgrim to pray at the shrine was the Holy Father, who visited the Oratory following the beatification Mass. Formerly St Phillip's Chapel, it was refurbished before being rededicated to Newman. The refurbishment was carried out by International Fine Art Conservation Studios and consisted of laying a new floor and some redecoration whilst preserving older decoration in some areas. The new elements echo the Oratory's baroque style and include stencilled designs.

The Shrine contains a number of relics taken from Newman's grave. Over the altar hangs a copy of Walter Ouless's portrait of Newman, the original of which is in the possession of the Oratory.

A considerable amount of work has clearly gone into the detail of the shrine. A particularly nice touch is design of the lamps to resemble a Cardinal's galero.

Since its opening the shrine has played host to many other pilgrims following in the Holy Father’s footsteps. Some have emulated him by admiring another of the Oratory’s increasingly famous residents, Pushkin. Pushkin is a delightful black Persian cat that has risen to fame since he was featured across the media as the recipient of the Pope’s attention and now even gets his own fan mail.

For those able to visit, the shrine is open whenever the Church is, usually before and after Mass, Saturday and Sunday. A pilgrims’ Mass is held in the shrine at 11am on Saturday mornings.

The Birmingham Oratory’s shrine is one of many erected or commissioned over recent months in memory of Newman; these include the London (Brompton) Oratory and Oxford Oratory as well as places as far afield as New York.

Also at the Oratory is a small exhibition of Newman’s personal items (generally only open at weekends). It features information about Newman’s life largely taken from some very effective poster versions of sections from Father Beaumont’s official beatification biography, a very interesting book. Hopefully soon the displays will be augmented with the items from the Newman Exhibition at the Birmingham Museum, as this featured some truly stunning pieces, photographs of which can be seen here.

This is the conclusion to my series of reports about Cardinal John Henry Newman, his beatification and the events that took place as part of its celebration; links to the earlier posts are listed below. As there are already reports of a second miracle being investigated it appears we may reasonably be hopeful that the sequel to this series may be appearing in the not too distant future!

Life of John Henry Newman
Newman and Birmingham Lecture
Cardinal Newman Exhibition
JH Newman and his Biographers, Official Beatification Conference
Performance of The Dream of Gerontius
Beatification of Cardinal Newman
Newman the Authorised Biography


Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Fabulous post..

Anonymous said...

Salve Maria!

Sou brasileira e moro no Brasil e desejo acompanhar este Blog, peço que coloquem nele um TRADUTOR, recurso que tem como adicionar ao Blogspot.

Assim ficará muito mais fácil a leitura, havendo um tradutor já na página do blog.


Fiquemos com Deus!

Giovana Cunha.

Semper Eadem said...

Thank you so much for bringing us another phase of the apotheosis of Blessed John H. Newman. The Chapel looks very traditional and just as the Beatus would have found familiar. His great phrase that he would never tire of attending the Mass as it was then celebrated comes readily to my mind.

Blessed John Newman pray for us!

Shandon Belle said...

I was really interested to see these pictures. It's amazing how much about the Oratory in Birmingham reminds me of University Church in St. Stephen's Green.

Anonymous said...

I hope that Oxford hurrys up with the Anthony Delarue design. The present little shrine is a poor substitute. Perhaps it should be the focus of the Canonisation? It would certainly turn Oxford upside-down to who knows what good effect. They will certainly leave Brompton in the ha'penny place!

Jim'll Fix It! said...

Can you identify the images and logos for me please?

Just a Girl said...

Thanks for the comments. I'm glad that this post and the series have been of interest to so many people.

JTS said...

This chapel doesn't look new. What was the previous use? They have made an excellent job of any refurbishment but I think that the perspex covers of the cardinal's hat lamps looks a bit cheap.

Little Brother said...

Correct me if I'm wrong but when the remains of Fr. Faber were exhumed to be buried in the chapel at the London Oratory they found that nothing was left except his shoes. It seems that Oratorians don't last well.

Random Thinker said...

Yes, a really lovely post. Where is the Newman shrine in Ireland?

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing thqat the JHN is John Henry Newman and the PN is Philip Neri. The wavy red line and three hearts is obviously the crest of Bl. Newman so the other shield is probably the crest of S. Philip. Two of the figures between the arches look like S. Ignatio Loyola and S. Jude Thaddeus. On the wall under the arches it looks like Bl. Dominic Barberi and Bl. Pius IX.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I always think that it's a pity to rededicate Churches and Chapels. What will poor St. Philip or his devout clients do now?

It's a pity that some other site couldn't have been found for an entirely new Chapel. I think there was enough notice that the Beatification was to take place and if there is one place where we could have been assured of a good job being done in Church building it would be the Oratory.

All the same, it looks great.

Viewer said...

Most interesting post and a most interesting series.

Fitzy said...

Looks really great for such a small church. Dont know much about Newman but when I was in UCD he was talked about a bit. We didnt get much coverage over here of all the stuff going on in the UK. Thanks for bringing it all back to us.

Unknown said...

Lovely pics of the new shrine at the Oratory. The lights actually look very good when you stand in front of them. Just think that Bl John Henry actually knew this part of the Oratory as it was retained from the building he erected.
Can I link you to Newman Chaplets? @

Alyssa said...

This is a really beautiful church and John Newman is a really special saint. You are very blest to be able to go here. We are blest by your pictures and information. It has kept me really close to the events of the ceremonies and all the details of the Pope's visit. He is also a really special gift of God for all of us.

Joyce F.

Deise Girl said...

Is there going to be something to mark Newman in Ireland?