By Tim Harfmann
Catholics at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Brooklyn Heights have been praying about the canonization for decades.
Cardinal John Henry Newman is a saint.
“We’ve been praying for this for about 30 years, about the whole length of the existence of the Brooklyn Oratory,” said Father Anthony Andreassi. He oversees the Brooklyn Oratory, which is a congregation gathering for prayer and Church teachings.
The Oratory parishes are made up of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and nearby Saint Boniface church.
The parishes have a great devotion to Saint Newman because he introduced the English-speaking world to the Oratory religious community.
In front of 50,000 people at the Vatican, Pope Francis elevated Newman and four women to sainthood on Sunday, October 13.
Newman was a convert, leaving the Anglican Church for Catholicism at the age of 44.
During the canonization, Pope Francis said Newman described the “holiness of daily life,” calling Christians kind, courteous and gentle.
“Let us ask to be like that, kindly lights amid the encircling gloom,” said Pope Francis.
“I always felt a kind of closeness in that regard because when I found the oratory, it changed my life,” said Richard Carlson, a Brooklyn resident who relates to the nineteenth-century saint because, he too, is a convert.
Growing up Lutheran, Richard said the Oratory community played a key role in his conversion nearly 30 years ago.
“We use an expression, ‘I feel like I came home;’ and I think Newman must’ve felt that in his language of his day.”
Newman is also known for his writings, some of which were on display Sunday October 13 during a prayer service at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“Newman was so strong on seeing a central role that lay people play in the life of the Church,” said Fr. Anthony.
Lay people, like Jorge and Emily Corona, are involved with Young Adult Ministry. They’re turning to the new saint to grow closer to Christ.
“It feels like a prime time for people like us, who might not know everything about the former cardinal, to read up on him and know what his work was about and how he fits into the Church,” said Jorge.
The Brooklyn Oratory plans on hosting group discussions, so Catholics can learn more about the newest saint.