None of us has any doubt that the canonization of John Henry Newman is going to bring manifold graces to the universal Church. Once he is declared a saint he no longer belongs exclusively to the Oratories he founded in England. Saints belong to the whole Church. Saints are canonized for the good of the whole Church.
I am certain that a great outpouring of praise and thanksgiving will rise up before God’s throne in gratitude for the heroic sanctity of John Henry Newman. And the Lord, Who is never to be outdone in generosity, will respond with grace upon grace. This will be a time of growth in holiness, and I also venture to suggest, a time of further miracles.
We are doing our best to prepare spiritually for this coming gift. We are also making certain preparations here at the Birmingham Oratory, plans which we hope will enable more people to know Cardinal Newman better, and more closely.
We are undertaking a modest redecoration of the Newman relic casket and the whole Newman Shrine. We hope the refurbished chapel will be open again on Monday 7th October. The cost of this upgrade is £75,000.
We are also establishing a small but unique museum of Newman relics, pictures, robes, and general memorabilia, here on the ground floor in Oratory House. Some of his manuscripts will be on display, and a number of his personal items that have not been seen in public before. This has involved commissioning bespoke museum display cases, to the standard required by the norms of conservation. We are working to have this museum open in the week following the canonization. The cost of furnishing the museum is also £75,000.
When both the Shrine and the Museum are open and accessible, we will publish some photographs, in the hope that there might be some devotees of Newman and supporters of the Oratory who will want to make a financial donation to the total of £150,000 that the Fathers are already expending on these works.
Fr Ignatius Harrison, C.O.