2019 was a year to remember for the NINS team. Please allow us to share some highlights from our exciting year:
On 13 October 2019 John Henry Newman was officially recognized as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. The NINS team attended all of the official events associated with the canonization. The celebrations began the evening before the canonization on Saturday, 12 October with a Vigil of Prayer, which took place at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. Following the prayer vigil was a concert of sacred music performed by the talented Schola Cantorum of the London Oratory School. The following day, on 13 October 2020, Blessed John Henry Newman was declared Saint John Henry Newman at a mass in St. Peter's Square officiated by Pope Francis. Following the canonization mass, the NINS team attended a reception with many dignitaries and ambassadors from around the world, including Prince Charles, who gave a moving speech about Newman's influence in our world today. The evening of the canonization, the NINS team attended a Musical Oratory at the Santa Maria in Vallicella (Chiesa Nuova). The celebrations in Rome were concluded with a Pontifical Mass of Thanksgiving, which was held on Monday, 14 October at 10:30am at the Papal Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano. Our very own Founder, Ms. Catharine Ryan, and Director, Dr. Bud Marr, were invited by the organizers to read portions of the Prayers of the Faithful.
After an incredible week in Rome, the NINS team traveled to England to continue the celebration of Newman's canonization. The first stop in England was Oxford, where the team attended a public lecture given by Bishop Robert Barron. The lecture was held at the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin, the very same place that Newman preached his University Sermons. The following day, the NINS team received a tour of the Church of St. Mary and St. Nicholas at Littlemore, which Newman commissioned in 1835. On the same evening, the team attended the Ecumenical Evensong, again at the University Church, which was followed by a dinner with many notable figures, including the Deputy Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor Mohammed Altaf Khan. After visiting Oxford, the NINS team traveled to Birmingham, where they attended the launch of the Newman Museum and attended a Pontifical High Mass in celebration of Newman's canonization at the Birmingham Oratory. The team also toured Newman's living quarters, his library, and the archives. After their brief visit to Birmingham, the NINS team returned to London for the final ceremony in the series of celebrations, the Solemn Vespers, which was held at Westminster Cathedral.
In 2019, NINS released the Digital Collections, which contains over 40 Terabytes of data! As our CTO, Danny Michaels writes in an article for the Tablet, "NINS is on the cutting-edge of library science. Dizzying amounts of data can be streamed simultaneously to end users and other institutions. Image-based resources remain in their original, high-resolution format while image servers and image processors apply algorithms that render them in endless configurations; cropped, flipped, sliced, colorized, resized, etc. It's a curator's dream! Precious resources are preserved while granting unfettered access to the world." Read more about the Digital Collections here.
The 2019 Spring Symposium, held 14-15 March, commemorated the 150th anniversary of the start of the First Vatican Council. Dr. Bill Portier from the University of Dayton kicked off the Symposium with a thought-provoking lecture on "The First Vatican Council, John Henry Newman, and the Making of a Post-Christendom Church." The following day included presentations by Tal Howard (Valparaiso University), Shaun Blanchard (Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University), Kristin Colberg (St. John's School of Theology and Seminary), and Massimo Faggioli (Villanova University). The papers came together nicely: Dr. Blanchard and Dr. Howard provided indispensable historical background to the Council, while Dr. Colberg's presentation looked at the reception of Vatican I in the decades following its interruption (in 1870). Dr. Faggioli wrapped up the presentations with an examination of what has changed in the Church and in society during the intervening century-and-a-half, offering some suggestions about how the Church will have to rethink its stance on the world in light of the changes in social and political circumstances.
The 2019 Fall Symposium featured the Rev. Benjamin John King, PhD, Associate Professor of Church History and Director of the Advanced Degrees Program at the University of the South (Sewanee), who spoke on "Newman's View of America." The following day NINS hosted invigorating talks by Jonathan Buttaci from the Catholic University of America, David Deavel from the University of St. Thomas, John F. Crosby from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Sr. Theresa Marie Chau Nguyen from the University of St. Thomas, Edward Ondrako from the University of Notre Dame, Bo Bonner from Mercy College of Health Science, Ramon Luzarraga from Benedictine University Mesa, and Austin Walker from the University of Chicago.
The 2019 Gailliot Award for Newman Studies was awarded to Dr. Mary Katherine Tillman, Professor Emerita of the Program of Liberal Studies at Notre Dame University, and was posthumously awarded to Fr. Marvin R. O'Connell (1930-2016), a prominent historian from Notre Dame, who authored The Oxford Conspirators: A History of the Oxford Movement 1833-45. In her acceptance speech, Dr. Tillman stated:
"?Newman gave preeminence to the living person, whom he saw as immediately connected with God through conscience. He saw God's abiding providence as particular to each human being. He celebrated the reality of the invisible world, the sacramentality of the visible world, and the holiness to be found in everyday life by consistent fulfillment of one's unique duties and gifts.
I wish now to name an important inspiration and support for me and my work. It is he with whom I share this award, the late Fr. Marvin Richard O'Connell. Most impressively, as an internationally acclaimed historian and authority on church history, he received the American Catholic Historical Association's 2013 Distinguished Achievement Award. My favorite among his many writings is the book entitled The Oxford Conspirators: A History of the Oxford Movement. That very readable book perfectly illustrates how eloquently Fr. Marvin did history by means of biography.
In Fr. Marvin O'Connell, Newman's wish was fulfilled: "I want the intellectual layman to be religious and the devout ecclesiastic to be intellectual." Were he here today, Fr. Marvin would, with me, give heartfelt thanks for the life and holiness of Saint John Henry Newman and for the National Institute for Newman Studies as it continues his remarkable legacy?."
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Elizabeth Huddleston is Head of Research and Publications at the National Institute for Newman Studies and is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Catholic Studies at Duquesne University.