Catholic Educators Gather in College Church to Honor 19th Century Scholar Cardinal Newman
| A candlelight procession illuminates St. Francis Xavier College Church. Photo by Chad Williams
ST. LOUIS — On Monday night, Saint Louis University celebrated the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman.
Pope Benedict XVI recently beatified the 19th century theologian — a penultimate step in the canonization of Cardinal Newman as a saint.
The prayer service and convocation, led St. Louis Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, drew top Catholic educators from across the region. SLU served as sponsor and organizer.
Among those in attendance were the presidents of Fontbonne University, the Aquinas Institute of Theology and Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.
The event also drew student members of the Newman Community at Washington University in St. Louis.
Additionally, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri also attended — Cardinal Newman was an Anglican priest before he converted to Catholicism.
In his opening remarks, Wayne Hellmann, O.F.M., chairman of SLU's theological studies department, told Carlson that his presence was particularly meaningful for the Catholic intellectuals and academics who had gathered for the celebration.
| St. Louis Archbishop Robert J. Carlson presides over the prayer service. Photo by Chad Williams
"We find support and encouragement in both in your presence among us and in our common reflection on the work and example of Blessed Newman."
SLU is home to several Newman scholars. Among them, Kenneth Parker, Ph.D., associate professor of theological studies, delivered an address Monday night examining the scholar's impact on the Church. He also urged attendees to read Newman's spiritual autobiography.
"In it, he reminds us that God can take persons, even from the most unlikely circumstances, and guide them — us — toward the mission God has prepared for us," Parker said. "We do not need to abandon our intellectual curiosity or love of learning, but trust that God made us for that purpose and revels in our creativity.
Parker went on to say that he hoped Newman's example would "deepen our commitment to do God’s work here at Saint Louis University and at our sister institutions around St. Louis."