Cardinal John Henry Newman’s feast will be celebrated on October 9, the date of his conversion in 1845, Pope Benedict XVI will declare next month.
The announcement of the feast day forms part of the Pope’s declaration of beatification, which has been published as part of the Magnificat booklet for the papal visit.
During the Mass at Cofton Park on September 19, Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham will ask the Pope formally to beatify the Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman. The vice-postular of the Cause will then read a short biography of the cardinal.
Then the Pope will say: “Acceding to the request of our Brother Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham, of many other Brothers in in the episcopate, and many of the faithful, after consultation with the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, by our apostolic authority we declare that the venerable servant of God John Henry, Cardinal, Newman, priest of the Congregation of the Oratory, shall henceforth be invoked as Blessed and that his feast shall be celebrated every year of the ninth of October, in the places and according to the norms established by Church law.”
This will be the first – and possibly only – time that Benedict XVI personally pronounces the formula of beatification during his pontificate.
A portrait of the new Blessed will then be unveiled and his relics will be placed beside the altar.
The Magnificat booklet also contains prayers of preparation for the visit and texts for daily Mass from September 12 to September 29, including the Masses of the papal visit.
It contains the hymns to be sung at the beatification Mass, including Newman’s own “Praise to the Holiest in the Height”, and “Firmly I Believe and Truly”, but also more modern works, such as Bernadette Farrell’s “Christ Be Our Light”, “Be Still for the Presence of the Lord”, and “Make Me A Channel of Your Peace”.
The Creed will be in Latin, according to a plainchant setting, and Eucharistic Prayer III will be used for the Mass in Latin.
The booklet has forewords by Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Lord Patten of Barnes and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.
It also contains essays by leading Catholics such as Newman scholar Fr Ian Ker, Bishop Malcolm McMahon of Nottingham, and the current British Ambassador to the Holy See, Francis Campbell.
The booklet is being distributed by Gabriel Communications and the bishops’ conferences of England and Wales and Scotland. A million copies will be sent to parishes in Britain.
Mgr Andrew Summersgill, papal visit coordinator, has said that while this “isn’t enough for everybody who regularly attends Mass”, there will “certainly” be enough copies “for each household”, as well as for those attending papal events.