One of the many celebrations during Heritage Month at Newman University honors its namesake, St. John Henry Newman.
Father Adam Grelinger, Newman University chaplain, celebrated the annual St. John Henry Newman Mass on Feb. 22, 2021.
St. John Henry Newman was born Feb. 21, 1801. His creed was to “love God above all things and to follow the Truth without compromise.”
He attended Oxford University at the age of 15, which led to his career as an Anglican clergyman and then vicar of the Oxford University Church, St. Mary’s.
He embraced the Catholic faith and was received into the church in 1845. Newman died on Aug. 11, 1890, at the age of 89. He was canonized into sainthood on Oct. 13, 2019, by Pope Francis.
Newman University was founded in 1933 as Sacred Heart Junior College and has seen several name changes since its opening.
In 1973, the college’s name was changed to Kansas Newman College to reflect the continued growth of the institution, the expanded range of educational programs and to honor Newman, who was well-known for his writings on the liberal arts and education.
The final change was made in July 1998 to its current name, Newman University.
During his homily, Grelinger reflected on a sermon given by St. John Henry Newman that talked about friendship.
Grelinger said, “Newman begins with the example of Jesus, which is always a fitting place because ‘Christ … fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear.’ Jesus helps us to look at the nature of human friendship. Jesus had close friends — the apostles, Lazarus, Mary, Martha, others and even a ‘beloved disciple.’ Jesus, who lived a perfect human life and who loves everyone and came to save everyone through the giving of his life on the cross, had close friends.
“So, it is not contrary to the Gospel and the call of Christain love to care more for those close to you, those toward whom you have an affinity, be it through shared experiences or their character.”
Grelinger ended his homily with an encouraging message about friendship; “With it will come deep joy and some severe mercies. But as we foster deep friendship, we will actually grow in our ability and our desire to love our coworkers, fellow students, neighbors, Wichitans, Kansans and on. Our expanding sphere of love will be real, not just benevolent feelings. This is a love that can truly transform society.”