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Bicentenary of Newman’s First Sermon
History
Bicentenary of Newman’s First Sermon

Two hundred years ago, on Wednesday 23 June 1824, John Henry Newman preached his first sermon. It was delivered in the evening at Holy Trinity Church, Over Worton, a village seventeen miles north of Oxford, in the parish of Rev. Walter Mayers, who had been Newman’s principal mentor since the religious conversion he underwent in 1816. Four days later, on Sunday 27 June, Newman took up duties as curate in the parish of St. Clement’s, Oxford and preached his second sermon at a morning service presided over by the elderly rector, John Gutch. During his nineteen months as curate at St. Clement’s, Newman prepared and preached 150 different sermons, a most unusual feat for a newly ordained clergyman.

Paul Shrimpton
Paul Shrimpton
June 19, 2024
27 min
Bicentenary of Newman’s ordination to the diaconate in the Established Church
Bicentenary of Newman’s ordination to the diaconate in the Established Church

Two hundred years ago, on Sunday 13 June 1824, John Henry Newman was ordained a deacon of the Church of England in Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. In preparation for this momentous day, he had been fasting for three months. Two days before taking holy orders, he wrote in his private journal (which acted as a prayer diary), “As the time approaches for my ordination, thank God, I feel more and more happy. Make me Thy instrument … make use of me, when Thou wilt, and dash me to pieces when Thou wilt. Let me […] be Thine.”

The Letters of the Rev. Isaac Williams to Newman
The Sisters of Mercy
The Sisters of Mercy

The Sisters of Mercy are probably one of the best-known female Catholic congregations, having even entered popular culture; so much so that in 1971 musician and singer Leonard Cohen used their name as a title for one of his songs. Later in 1980 a newly formed rock band also took the name, having been influenced by Cohen’s song. However conflicted anybody might feel about the use of the name in these contexts, it demonstrates the indelible impression that the congregation has made on society in general, in a way that few others have. 

From the Oxford Movement to martyrdom in deepest Africa
Saving the Manning to Kirkman Letters
Saving the Manning to Kirkman Letters

As part of my role with the Catholic Archives Society, I routinely monitor the internet for Catholic archival material being offered for sale and work with relevant repositories to ensure its safe acquisition. In 2023 a bound collection of 19 original manuscript letters from Cardinal Henry Edward Manning to the Rev. Thomas Penyngton Kirkman (1806-1895) appeared for sale -- never previously shared in public. In them Manning discusses his views on philosophy and evolution, his views on Herbert Spencer, and even sketches of his ideas for a solution to Pascal’s Theorem.

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