I Corinthians 2.10-16; Psalm 144; Matthew 13.47-52
Newman’s long life (1801-1890) nearly spans the whole of the 19th Century; his conversion to the Catholic Church in 1845 neatly divides his own life into two halves. He had a distinguished career in the Church of England, culminating in the post of Vicar of the University Church in Oxford. He was the leader of a group called the Oxford movement.
He spoke of his departure from the Church of England as ‘the parting of friends.’ His own sister never spoke to him again after his conversion. He left Oxford in 1846 and went to Oscott where Nicholas Wiseman (then the Vicar Apostolic of the Midland District) resided. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1847 in Rome. Returning to England as an Oratorian, he settled in Edgbaston and founded an Oratory where, apart from a short interlude in Ireland, he was to live in seclusion for more than 40 years. In 1879 he was made a cardinal by Pope Leo XIII, though he was never a bishop and was exempted from the requirement of living in Rome. His hymns, devotions and sermons continue to inspire to this day; Pope St Paul VI spoke of Newman as ‘the father of the Second Vatican Council.’