Saturday, July 19, 2008

Historic Catholic figure set to be reinterred in city church

ONE of Birmingham’s great historic religious figures is to be given pride of place in a city church as the latest step on the road to sainthood.

Cardinal John Henry Newman will be exhumed from his burial place of 118 years at Rednal and his remains placed in a marble sarcophagus at Birmingham Oratory at Hagley Road, Edgbaston.

The move will allow pilgrims from all over the Roman Catholic world to visit his tomb and pray for his help, one of the conditions the Vatican authorities place on his rise to sainthood.

Architect Peter Brownhill said the marble sarcophagus would be set between pillars on the quiet western side of the church.

Mr Brownhill said: “His remains need to be reinterred from Rednal to a place of significance and befitting his new status. The Oratory is a gorgeous building and an appropriate new resting place.”

Cardinal Newman, who lived from 1801 to 1890, is famous for his conversion, aged 44, from the Anglican church to Catholicism, where he rose to the rank of Cardinal. He set up the Birmingham Oratory of St Philip Neri in 1849 and lived there until his death. He was buried in the Lickey Hills.

Newman was awarded the title Venerable in 1991 and will, within weeks, become Blessed as he moves towards becoming a fully fledged saint.

His recent elevation is the result of two miracles posthumously attributed to him by the American Catholic Church.

The second was an American deacon, Jack Sullivan, who claimed a spinal condition cleared up.

Both prayed to Newman for his help.
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