A parish group from north London visited Littlemore near Oxford in preparation for the papal visit and the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, writes Eamonn Hamilton.
The group from the church of Our Lady and St Thomas of Canterbury spent time with the Spiritual Family of The Work which looks after the site. Newman lived in the village and became a Catholic there.
One of the sisters led prayers in the Oratory and later explained the importance of Littlemore as the site of the Newman’s reception into the Church in 1845 by the Blessed Dominic Barberi, some of whose relics are kept in Newman’s room.
A tour of the site included their substantial selection of Newman’s writings and Newman-related literature as well as a permanent exhibition of memorabilia. The bust of Newman is in the well-tended garden: it made a peaceful setting for reflection on Newman’s contribution to the Church.
The group also visited other sites in Oxford associated with Newman including the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, where he was vicar for 15 years, and Oriel College where he was a Fellow.