Cardinal Newman “Miracle Man” Visits Birmingham

Deacon Jack Sullivan from Boston USA, who was cured of a crippling spinal disease after praying to Cardinal Newman, founder of the Oratory Church, visited Ladywood earlier this month.

The only TV interview he gave was to local project TNT News. He told TNT how the Vatican earlier this year approved the cure as a miracle and Newman is likely to be made a saint next year.

This is of special interest to me due to my ongoing involvement with the Cardinal Newman Project. The Deacon spoke to one of the project team and his input (and particularly the video record) will be an invaluable addition to the project archive.


Launch of Cardinal Newman Project

Last week I attended the launch of the Cardinal Newman Project at the Norman Power Centre in Ladywood. The project seeks to investigate the impact of Cardinal Newman and his work on the Ladywood area of Birmingham. It also aims to promote intergenerational learning. As well as obtaining information from elderly residents of Ladywood using techniques such as reminiscence, the children from the Oratory Primary School will be filming the various events and visits to produce a DVD of the project.

I was honoured to meet Father Sebastian and Father Anton from the Birmingham Oratory. Despite being openly secular in my beliefs, both were keen to hear about my involvement in the project and in particular my views on the area. I also met several parishioners of the Oratory and residents and management of the Norman Power Centre.

As part of the project steering group I have set up a simple website for the project to promote the work and events that are taking place. The site should make it easy for members of the steering group to give updates and for residents to contribute.

There was a lot of excitement about the potential visit to Birmingham of Pope Benedict XVI in 2010. If confirmed, the visit will bring a whole new meaning to the project and hopefully result in many more people benefiting from the project's work.


Examining the Impact of Cardinal Newman’s Work on Ladywood

Norman Power Centre, Ladywood

Today I joined representatives from the Ladywood Project, Spring Hill Library, the Oratory School and Pisces WM at the Norman Power Centre for the latest steering meeting of the Cardinal Newman Community Project. The project will, pending funding, examine the impact of Cardinal Newman and his work on the community of Ladywood over the years.

This will involve examining historical records, interviewing elderly members of the community and involving children from the Oratory school. The work will be displayed in various exhibition spaces and a DVD will be produced to record the work for future generations to enjoy.

I was invited along by project leaders Pisces WM to give input from a community engagement perspective. I was concerned that a lot of valuable information may have left Ladywood over the years as people have moved away. My suggestion was to create a project website with the aim of publicising the project to former Ladywood residents to hopefully capture some of that information.

I'm impressed with the quality and the variety of the partners on board, the dedication of the Pisces WM team and the generational focus which should help to further develop the strong community spirit of the area. It's important to note this is not a religious project examining his work, more the impact of that work on the local community.

Stay tuned for more information as the project develops.