Anniversary of the Birth of St. John Henry Newman

“Witness” by Fr. Edward J. Ondrako, OFM Conv.

St. John Henry Newman was born on February 21, 1801. Our Lady of the Angels Province friar ~ Fr. Edward J. Ondrako, OFM Conv. prepared this brief Witness to be shared today:

Who knew? In 1969, +Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner, OFM Conv. asked us Franciscan seminarians if we wanted to study the Anglican and Catholic Sermons of Fr. John Henry Newman. In 1973, he brought Fr. Adrian J. Boekraad, MHM, one of the first generation of a small but intensive group of careful scholars of Newman’s thought to teach us. In 1994, my research centering on Newman’s “Letter to Norfolk” (1874) in relation to Vatican II earned the doctorate from the Humanities Department at Syracuse University. In 2009, I met Notre Dame’s Cyril O’Regan and learned quickly what a devoted Newman scholar he is. In 2017, under Cyril’s recommendation and guidance, Notre Dame’s Theology Department awarded the doctorate for my research about Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner’s life and Franciscan thought which included an extensive Newmanian part. Fr. Peter confirmed that I represented the development of his life’s thought correctly. 50 years after Fr. Peter led us to love Newman, on October 13, 2019, in St. Peter’s Square, I joined a massive crowd of witnesses to Pope Francis as he canonized St. John Henry Newman (pictured at left). I was in tears of joy, gratitude, and prayer and this remains by the grace of God. With Cyril O’Regan I continue to research St. Newman’s life at Notre Dame’s McGrath Institute for Church Life and the Pontifical Faculty of St. Bonaventure, Rome. Who knew? 

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Fr. Edward J. Ondrako, OFM Conventual
Research Fellow Pontifical Faculty of St. Bonaventure, Rome
Visiting Scholar, McGrath Institute for Church Life
University of Notre Dame
Easter Sunday, 2019

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