Two postage stamps depicting photographs of Cardinal Newman, one never published before, and a stamp label showing Pope Benedict XVI are included in a miniature sheet issued by the Isle of Man post office on Wednesday August 11. That date is the 120th anniversary of the death of Cardinal Newman.
The two stamps, valued at £1.50 each, received Royal Approval from the Queen and include the royal cipher. The engaging miniature sheet is being issued to commemorate the state visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom, September 16-19, and the Beatification of Cardinal Newman at Cofton Park, Birmingham.
Isle of Man Stamps and Coins is now working with the Vatican post office to produce a limited edition souvenir first-day cover and joint special hand stamp postmark to commemorate the beatification on September 19.
The left hand stamp depicts a previously unknown original photograph of Cardinal Newman taken by H J Whitlock, Photographers, New Street, Birmingham, and signed by Cardinal Newman, aged 82, at the Oratory House on Passion Sunday, March 11 1883, for a visitor. The right hand stamp shows an original photograph of Dr Newman taken around 1866 by McLean & Haes, Photographers, Haymarket, London. The picture of Pope Benedict XVI by this correspondent on the stamp label was taken during a general audience in St Peter’s Square on Wednesday June 10 2009.
John Henry Newman was the greatest English religious figure of the 19th century. Today he is known worldwide as one of the foremost theologians of the Catholic Church and a prolific writer – he left more than 30,000 letters – but most of all he is revered as a much-loved holy parish priest in Birmingham. Cardinal Newman died in his room at the Oratory House, Edgbaston, aged 89, on Monday, August 11 1890.
The miniature sheet, a presentation pack and a first-day cover and insert were printed well ahead of the four-day visit of Pope Benedict to Scotland and England and before the announcement on June 24 that the Holy See had requested a change of venue for the beatification of Cardinal Newman from Coventry Airport to Cofton Park Birmingham.
The miniature sheet wrongly refers to the beatification of Cardinal Newman taking place: “At Coventry Airport, September 19.”
These stamps depicting Cardinal Newman will be collected and treasured by stamp collectors and non-collectors alike throughout the world. The inclusion of the Coventry Airport venue will add philatelic interest.
The commemorative stamps and related products were the idea of this correspondent, a Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society London, who wrote the text and supplied the pictures to Isle for Man Stamps and Coins and worked with designer Stacey Smith at Isle of Man Advertising and PR Ltd.
The miniature sheet was launched by Archbishop Bernard Longley at the end of a press conference about the papal visit to the Archdiocese of Birmingham held at Cathedral House, Birmingham, on Friday July 23.
Archbishop Longley said: “Once again postage stamps show their remarkable ability to inform and raise people’s awareness of historic celebrations or important national and local events.
“Isle of Man Stamps and Coins are to be congratulated on these engaging and imaginative stamps included in a special miniature sheet to commemorate the state visit of Pope Benedict XVI and the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman.
“This is first time that that a Pope has been welcomed to the United Kingdom on a state visit and these stamps highlight the importance of such a visit for UK and Isle of Man citizens within and beyond the Catholic Church.”
He added: “The beatification of Cardinal Newman promotes this man of God as an example of holiness and as the bearer of truth. He is a figure of international significance and these Isle of Man stamps will introduce Cardinal Newman and his witness to goodness and truth to many people throughout the world who may not yet know him.”
The back of the special first day cover includes a specially written “Welcome to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI” by Cardinal Keith O’Brien and Archbishop Vincent Nichols.
The Isle of Man special miniature sheet and presentation pack were to be issued on August 11 to commemorate the state visit of Pope Benedict XVI and the beatification of Cardinal Newman.