Newman University celebrated its namesake John Henry Cardinal Newman's 215th birthday Sunday, Feb. 21, with a special Mass and after-Mass get-together as part of Heritage Month.
John Henry Newman was born Feb. 21, 1801, in London, England. Newman did not grow up in the Roman Catholic Church; instead, he came from the Church of England where he became a priest in 1825. A few years later, Newman became involved with forming the Oxford Movement, which called for reintegration of certain Catholic beliefs and rituals previously removed from church practice due to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century.
After many years traveling and writing to promote the Oxford Movement, Newman left the Church of England at age 44, and, on Oct. 9, 1845, he was received into the Roman Catholic Church. A little less than two years later, he was ordained a priest in the Church. It wasn't until 1879, 32 years after his ordination, that he was named a Cardinal by Pope Leo XIII. Newman being named Cardinal-Deacon by the Pope was a rare circumstance because he had not been a bishop in the Church.
Cardinal Newman was a strong advocate for education. He founded the Literary and Historical Society and was involved with many universities in England and Ireland, where he educated and wrote volumes of lectures which eventually came to be known as The Idea of a University, which explained his belief in how educational systems should be structured and conducted.
Newman died of pneumonia at 89 in 1890. He was Venerated by the Catholic Church and Beatified in 2010. In 1973, Sacred Heart College changed its name to Kansas Newman College to reflect the continued growth of the institution, the expanded range of its educational programs and to honor John Henry Cardinal Newman, who is known for his writings on the liberal arts and education.
Newman Chaplain Fr. John Fogliasso said: "As a Catholic who now works in higher education, Cardinal Newman is an inspiring figure, especially having read and appreciated his monumental work The Idea of a University. Also, I believe it is very important that we as a university celebrate our Catholic identity, our founding order and our namesake."
After Newman University's Feb. 21 Mass, the university held a birthday celebration in the Heritage Room. On Wednesday, Feb. 24, Newman University held its annual Cardinal Newman Mass with a lunch following in the Heritage Room. Fr. Fogliasso said the the Mass "was a tremendous success. It was fabulous to see members of the university's administration, faculty, staff, students and outside community members join us to celebrate our namesake."
Concluding Cardinal Newman Week at Newman University will be a Mass at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, followed by the annual Cardinal Newman Award Banquet at 6 p.m. in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center.