Bishop Robert Byrne answers the question “Why was Newman so great?”

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Birmingham Oratory’s ‘Day of Prayer’ for Cardinal Newman on Saturday saw the Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, Bishop Robert Byrne, preaching about Newman’s greatness.
The bishop began by referencing Blessed John Henry Newman’s funeral which is widely known to have attracted 20,000 people lining the streets around the Oratory to pay him their respects.
“Why did 20,000 people turn out to pay their respects to a nearly ninety year old Cardinal of the Roman Church?” the bishop asked. “I believe quite simply that the reason was that the people of Birmingham and beyond recognised that Newman was a saint.”
And where did Newman’s greatness lie? Bishop Byrne highlighted a few of Newman’s many gifts:

He was a great pastor – caring for the sick and the dying – accompanying people on their spiritual journey through his prolific letter writing and personal influence and offering practical help and support to the people of his parish.
He is a great teacher of the faith. “His sermons are not only masterpieces of English prose,” Bishop Byrne said, “but also profound reflections on the Christian faith. They deal with the perennial problems of people grappling with faith, striving for holiness and living in charity with others. They are as fresh and as relevant in our modern age as they were in his own day.”
“Newman is truly a teacher of the New Evangelisation. He reminds us that our faith is at heart a living relationship with Jesus Christ.”
“In praying for the Canonisation of Blessed John Henry Newman,” the bishop concluded, “we are praying that the Universal Church will be given the gift of his wisdom and teaching that many more may grow in faith and love and that like him we may be drawn from shadows and images into the truth.”
Pope Francis sent a special message of support for the success of a ‘Day with Newman’ on Saturday. His Holiness imparted “his Apostolic Blessing upon all those persons who are participating in this significant event and working in any way for the Canonisation of the Blessed John Henry Newman.”

Full Homily

Homily: Why was Newman so great?

Pope Francis Prays for the Success of the Day of Prayer for the Canonization of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman
Birmingham Oratory’s website
Cardinal Newman on the official website for the Papal Visit in 2010