From the Diocese of Westminster website.
The Canonisation of St John Henry Newman
Cardinal John Henry Newman has been declared a saint by Pope Francis. He is the first English person to be canonised since 1970. Born in 1801, he is also the most modern English saint to have lived. The open-air canonisation Mass took place in St Peter’s Square on Sunday 13th October 2019 and was celebrated by Pope Francis. Four women were also promoted to full sainthood: Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan from India, Marguerite Bays from Switzerland, Giuseppina Vannini from Italy and Dulce Lopes Pontes from Brazil.
The morning of the canonisation Mass was an early start for keen pilgrims, with many arriving at St Peter’s Square hours before the 10am Mass started to secure a seat. Banners depicting the faces of the five new saints transformed the façade of St Peter’s Basilica. The Mass was attended by tens of thousands of pilgrims from across the world, including those representing the home countries of the new saints. From Westminster, Cardinal Vincent and Bishop Nicholas Hudson concelebrated at the Mass, while twenty young pilgrims in the crowd wore the red t-shirts of the Diocese of Westminster Youth Ministry. In a mark of the historical significance of the canonisation for the United Kingdom, the Prince of Wales was also in attendance.
Pope Francis’ homily focused on the Gospel story of Jesus healing the ten lepers (Luke: 17:11-19). He explained how the story reflects the journey of faith, which has three steps, and how each one of these three steps is seen in the actions of the lepers. As Pope Francis outlined at the beginning of his homily, ‘They cry out, they walk and they give thanks.’ The Pope concluded his homily by giving thanks to God for the five new saints and sharing two extracts from St John Henry Newman’s writings.
‘Such is the holiness of daily life, which Saint John Henry Newman described in these words: “The Christian has a deep, silent, hidden peace, which the world sees not... The Christian is cheerful, easy, kind, gentle, courteous, candid, unassuming; has no pretence... with so little that is unusual or striking in his bearing, that he may easily be taken at first sight for an ordinary man” (Parochial and Plain Sermons, V, 5).
Let us ask to be like that, “kindly lights” amid the encircling gloom. Jesus, “stay with me, and then I shall begin to shine as Thou shinest: so to shine as to be a light to others” (Meditations on Christian Doctrine, VII, 3). Amen.’
Cover image copyright © Mazur/cbcew.org.uk