2016-03-08 13:34:00

Archbishop of Birmingham prays for Barberi's Canonisation

The Archbishop of Birmingham joined Rome’s Passionist community for a Mass for the Cause of  Canonisation for Blessed Dominic Barberi, on Saturday 5th March.

The Most Reverend Bernard Longely was joined by the Superior General of the Passionist Order and the Superior of Rome’s Passionist centre, along with priests and seminarians of the Archdiocese of Birmingham and others who have been praying for Blessed Dominic to be canonised. The Mass was held within the Basilica of Saints John and Paul, in the Chapel of Saint Paul of the Cross. St Paul of the Cross was the founder of the Passionist Order and is buried within the chapel.

Blessed Dominic Barberi was born in Viterbo in 1792. Having been overlooked for military conscription in 1814, he entered the Passionist Order as a novice. He rose quickly through the order, holding a number of teaching positions before feeling a call to Missionary activity.

After establishing a Passionist presence in Belgium in 1840, Dominic’s reputation spread and he was invited to move to England in order to set up a Passionist house there. Dominic had long been interested in the religious situation in England, having met and instructed prominent English Catholics such as Ambrose Phillips and Ignatious Spencer, during his years in Rome.

 Life for English Catholics was still difficult and often very dangerous, but Dominic soon won over his doubters and began to receive a steady stream of converts to the Catholic Church.

Most famously, he received John Henry Newman into the Church in 1845. Newman, who went on to found the Community of the Oratorians in England, was a noted writer and Apologiest and was created Cardinal by Pope Leo XIII. Newman was Beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010.

After founding a number of Passionist houses in England and converting hundred of people to Catholicism, Dominic Barberi died at Reading Railway station in 1849. He is regarded as one of the most effective Catholic evangelists in recent English history.

Pope Paul VI beatified Dominic Barberi in 1963, during the Second Vatican Council.

Much of Barberi’s work in England took place with the Archdiocese of Birmingham, particularly in the Staffordshire area and the city of Birmingham itself. Because of this connection, authorities within the Archdiocese of Birmingham have taken a great interest in the cause for Baberi’s canonisation. Parishioners of the Archdiocese concluded a nine day novena prayer for Barberi’s canonisation on 5th March.  

(John Waters)

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