We are delighted to announce that yesterday Pope Francis signed the decree approving the miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed John Henry Newman, the founder of the English Oratory. This opens the way to his canonisation later in the year. Below is a press release from the Birmingham Oratory giving details of the miracle.
With great joy we have learned that Pope Francis has authorized the promulgation of a decree confirming a miracle through the intercession of Blessed John Henry Newman, the founder of the English Oratory.
The miracle occurred in May 2013 in the USA. An expectant mother was suffering from unstoppable internal bleeding which threatened the life of her child in the womb. She had long been a devotee of Blessed John Henry, and in prayer she directly and explicitly invoked Newman’s intercession to stop the bleeding. The miraculous healing was immediate, complete, and permanent.
The case was passed to the Postulator of the Cause in Rome, Dr. Andrea Ambrosi who examined and documented the miracle, which was then scrutinized and approved by the medical and theological commissions of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.
Now that the Holy Father has authorized the decree, we may reasonably hope that John Henry Cardinal Newman will soon be canonized. The Holy See will decide the date.
This confirmation of Newman’s heroic sanctity will be welcomed by Catholics and Anglicans alike, and many others. Newman was a central figure within the Oxford Movement in the Church of England, and this helped him to make his unique theological and spiritual contribution to Catholicism after his conversion in 1845.
Newman’s long spiritual pilgrimage ‘out of shadows and images into the truth’ encourages all Christians to persevere in their quest for God above all else. His conversion to Catholicism is a clear example of how God uses all the varied circumstances of our lives to draw us to Himself, in His own good time, and in so many different ways.
The Fathers and Brothers assure Bishop Robert Byrne of our love, prayers and support as he takes up his new responsibilities as Shepherd of the people of Hexham and Newcastle. May Our Holy Father St Philip pray for him!
2 IN PRESENTATIONE DOMINI Solemn Mass 11:00
Mass in five parts Byrd
Senex puerum portabat Victoria
Ave verum Mozart
Organ: Offertoire in C Lebègue
3 DOMINICA IV PER ANNUM Solemn Mass 11:00
Missa Spem in alium Palestrina
Adorna thalamum Lassus
Ego sum panis vivus Palestrina
Organ: Prelude in F minor (534) Bach
10 DOMINICA V PER ANNUM Solemn Mass 11:00
Missa Simile est regnum Victoria
Simile est regnum caelorum Guerrero
Et egressus circa horam tertiam Guerrero
Organ: Duretez Fantasie L Couperin
17 DOMINICA VI PER ANNUM Solemn Mass 11:00
Missa Ave Maris stella Victoria
Venite comedite Byrd
Benedicam Dominum Lassus
Organ: Ave Maris Stella (i/ii) de Grigny
24 DOMINICA VII PER ANNUM Solemn Mass 11:00
Mass in three parts Byrd
Beati omnes Anon./Arcadelt
O bone Iesu Du Mont
Organ: Fuga pro organo pleno (552ii) Bach
The beginning of the new year also marks the start of an exciting time for sacred music at the Oratory. We have a new Director of Music, Matthew Martin, a prominent composer and organist, as well as Director of Music and Fellow at Keble College. Matthew’s areas of special academic interest include the Roman liturgy and plainchant.
The Fathers of the Oratory, since the time of St Philip, have always valued music as a tool for drawing people into the worship and love of God. With this new appointment comes also a new approach to the Oratory Choir, a new organ scholarship, and a renewed commitment to invest in the future of music, following the principle that only our best is good enough for God.
New Director of Music: a biography
Matthew Martin studied at Magdalen College, Oxford and at the Royal Academy of Music and later with Marie-Claire Alain in Paris. Martin is Director of Music and a Fellow at Keble College, Oxford where he conducts the choir, teaches academic music, and runs the annual Keble Early Music Festival.
His ‘spikily dynamic style of composition’ (BBC Music Magazine) has led him to be commissioned to write for many prominent ensembles, including The Tallis Scholars, the choirs of Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, St John’s College and Clare College in Cambridge.
Martin won the Liturgical category in the 2013 British Composer Awards for for his Festival Anthem I Saw the Lord and, in 2014, a disc of his choral music, Jubilate Deo, was recorded by The Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford and Daniel Hyde and released on the Opus Arte label. In the same year he was commissioned by The Genesis Foundation to write a new setting of the Stabat Mater for The Sixteen and Harry Christophers.
At the 2015 Cheltenham Music Festival Martin premiered his Trumpet Sonata with Jason Evans. In 2016 Peter Phillips and The Tallis Scholars performed a new set of Lamentations at Cadogan Hall, London and a cycle of Petrarch Sonnets for Marcus Farnsworth and James Baillieu received their first performance at the 2016 Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester.
His large-scale unaccompanied choral work, A Rose Magnificat, written for The Gabrieli Consort and Paul McCreesh was first performed in 2017 at St John’s Smith Square, London. The work was subsequently recorded for release on the Winged Lion label in 2018. Other projects have included a re-imagining of Guerrero's Ave Virgo sanctissima for ORA and Suzi Digby OBE, and Psalm 150, a Festival Anthem written to mark opening of the new organ in Manchester Cathedral, the premiere of which was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 in September 2017.