The parish of St Anne and Blessed Dominic in Sutton, St Helens, is preparing to remember the man who received Cardinal Newman into the Roman Catholic Church. The Most Reverend Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham, will celebrate Mass for the Cause of Blessed Dominic Barberi in the church on Monday, 26 August, at 12.00 noon. After he embraced the Roman Catholic faith Cardinal Newman spent most of his life living and working in Birmingham.
Nineteenth Century Passionist Priest, Dominic Barberi, is buried in the Shrine at Sutton and was beatified by Pope Paul VI in Rome in 1963. Monday’s celebration will be attended by eight visitors from Viterbo, Italy, the birthplace of Blessed Dominic.
Dominic had met the then Anglican Clergyman John Henry Newman at St Mary’s, in the Oxford village of Littlemore, in 1845 when Newman asked to be received in to the Catholic Church. From there Newman went on to be ordained priest, be created a Cardinal and become one of the great Churchmen of the nineteenth century. He was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI at Cofton Park, Birmingham, during his visit to the United Kingdom in September 2010.
In time the town of St Helens may well have three Saints making St Anne and Blessed Dominic ‘the church of the three saints’. Blessed Dominic was beatified in 1963 and the Causes for Sainthood of Father Ignatius Spencer and Mother Mary Joseph, who are buried with him in the Shrine there, were introduced in Rome in 1996.
Father Ignatius Spencer CP was the youngest son of the second Earl of Spencer, who became first an Anglican clergyman, then a Catholic and a priest in Birmingham Diocese, and eventually a Passionist, being professed by Blessed Dominic at the first Passionist Monastery in England at Aston Hall near Stone in Staffordshire. An ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales, cricket loving Ignatius had played a big part in bringing the Passionists to England. After Dominic’s death he succeeded him as the Superior of the Order in this country and died in 1864 while Rector of Sutton Monastery.
On the other side of the chapel lies Mother Mary Joseph CP, Foundress of the Passionist Sisters who had been received into the Church by Blessed Dominic. She later taught in Manchester and worked among the poor and the needy, before moving to Sutton to open a school at St Mary’s, Blackbrook, and take charge of St Anne’s School, Sutton.
All are welcome to attend Monday’s Mass at 12.00 noon.