The Memorial of Blessed Dominic Barberi of the Mother of God C.P. (1792-1849) Apostle of England, Prayer for his Cause of Canonisation
As we celebrate the Memorial of Blessed Dominic Barberi, he who converted so many to the bosom of the Church in England, let us pray for his Canonisation and for that of his greatest convert, Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890), these two, forever linked in history.
Prayer for the Cause of Canonisation of Blessed Dominic Barberi (1792-1849)
O God, Who so lovingly raised Blessed Dominic to the heights of holiness, learning and apostolic zeal and made him a powerful minister of Your mercy, listen to our humble request. We pray that You will, in Your goodness, grant a miracle, we pray, through the intercession of Blessed Dominic, so that the Church may honour him on earth and that many more will come to know and invoke the help of this faithful servant of the Church. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen Mary, Mother of Holy Hope, pray for us Blessed Dominic Barberi, pray for us.
PRAYER FOR CANONISATION of Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
God our Father, You granted to Your servant, Blessed John Henry Newman, wonderful gifts of nature and of grace, that he should be a spiritual light in the darkness of this world, an eloquent herald of the Gospel and a devoted servant of the one Church of Christ. With confidence in his heavenly intercession, we make the petition for his Canonisation. For his insight into the mysteries of the kingdom, his zealous defence of the teachings of the Church and his priestly love for each of your children, we pray that he may soon be numbered among the Saints. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen
Nihil Obstat: Fr Pat McKinney S.T.L.
Imprimatur: + Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham
Thought for the Day – 27 August – The Memorial of Blessed Dominic Barberi of the Mother of God C.P. (1792-1849) Apostle of England
Blessed Dominic Barberi, as described by the great English convert, Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890).
“On the Apennines, near Viterbo, there dwelt a shepherd-boy, in the first years of this century, whose mind had early been drawn heavenward and, one day, as he prayed before an image of the Madonna, he felt a vivid intimation that he was destined to preach the Gospel under the northern sky.
“There appeared no means by which a Roman peasant should be turned into a missionary; nor did the prospect open, when this youth found himself, first a lay brother, then a Father, in the Congregation of the Passion.
“Yet, though no external means appeared, the inward impression did not fade, on the contrary it became more definite and, in process of time, instead of the dim north, England was engraved on his heart.
“And, strange to say, as years went on, without his seeking, for he was simply under obedience, our peasant found himself at length upon the very shore of the stormy northern sea, whence Caesar of old looked out for a new world to conquer; yet that he should cross the strait was still as little likely as before.
“However, it was as likely as that he should ever have got so near it and he used to eye the restless, godless waves and wonder with himself whether the day would ever come when he should be carried over them.
“And come it did, not however by any determination of his own, but by the same Providence which thirty years before had given him the anticipation of it…The thought of England came into his ordinary prayers and in his last years, after a vision during Mass, as if he had been Augustine or Mellitus, he talked of his ‘sons’ in England.”
Fr Dominic of the Mother of God was a spiritual son of St Paul of the Cross (1694-1775), the founder of the Passionists.
John Henry Newman, Loss and Gain: The Story of a Convert, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1986, pp.291-292.
The work of Dominic with Newman and the new converts of Littlemore was not limited to receiving them into the Church. The esteem that Dominic had, even before the conversion of Newman, for the little group of Littlemore was impressive. He touchingly and lovingly wrote to Dalgairns in September 1845:
“Dear Littlemore, I love Thee! A little more still and we shall see happy results from Littlemore. When the learned and holy Superior of Littlemore will come, then I hope we shall see again the happy days of Augustine, of Lanfranc and Thomas. England will be once more the Isle of Saints and the nurse of new Christian nations, destined to carry the light of the Gospels coram gentibus et regibus et filiis Israel”.
His compassion, kindness and love are our lessons today!
One Minute Reflection – 27 August – The Memorial of Blessed Dominic Barberi of the Mother of God C.P. (1792-1849)
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.”…Matthew 26:26
REFLECTION – “Jesus Christ said over the consecrated elements, “This is my body” you say “No. It is not his body!” Who then am I to believe? I prefer to believe Jesus Christ.”…Blessed Dominic Barberi (1792-1849)
PRAYER – O God, who so lovingly raised Blessed Dominic to the heights of holiness, learning and apostolic zeal and made him a powerful minister of Your mercy for the return of many of our separated brethren to the Catholic Church, grant to us here below, an abundant share of his virtues and deign, through his intercession, to grant us this particular grace. May we too, according to our state, contribute to the realisation of his desire for the union of all Christians in the one True Fold under the one Shepherd. We ask this through our Lord Jesus, with the Holy Spirit, one God forever, amen.
Our Morning Offering – 27 August – The Memorial of Blessed Dominic Barberi of the Mother of God C.P. (1792-1849)
One of Bl Dominic’s major Conversions, Bl John Henry, will do the honours today.
Raise My Heart Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
O my God,
whatever is nearer to me than You,
things of this earth
and things more naturally pleasing to me,
will be sure to interrupt the sight of You,
unless Your grace interfere.
Keep You my eyes,
from any such miserable tyranny.
Keep my whole being fixed on You.
Let me never lose sight of You
and while I gaze on You,
let my love of You
grow more and more every day.
Saint of the Day – 27 August – Blessed Dominic Barberi of the Mother of God C.P. (1792-1849) Apostle to England – Passionist Priest, Theologian, Confessor, Teacher, Spiritual Direcotor, Writer, Missionary, Evangelist – born on 22 June 1792 at Viterbo, Italy and died at 3pm on 27 August 1849 at Reading, Berkshire, England of a heart attack. Patronage – England. St Dominic was an Italian, a member of the Passionist Congregation and was extremely prominent in spreading Catholicism in England. He was a very positive influence on and instrumental in, the conversion of Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890). Dominic was born to a poor family of Italian farmers in 1792. He was orphaned at the tender age of eight and an uncle and aunt raised him in the town of Merlano. Young Dominic was not sent to school but instead was taught to shepherd sheep. But the child always found time to pray as he tended the sheep and he also diligently taught himself to read and write.
When Napoleon closed all the religious houses in Italy, Dominic became acquainted with several Passionists living in exile near his town. During this time, Dominic experienced a divine message to join the Passionists and one day go to England.
Dominic had promised God that if he were not drafted, he would become a Passionist. Dominic’s uncle and aunt had also planned a marriage for him. But just before the arranged marriage was to take place, he slipped away and instead entered the nearby Passionist monastery at Vetralla. Dominic studied eagerly, for he had a brilliant mind. He was ordained in Rome on 1 March 1821. For the next nineteen years he shared the life and ministries of the Passionists in Italy but his heart was in England.
Mission in England
In 1833, Dominic became a delegate to the General Chapter. In this capacity, he was able to plant the seed to send missionaries to England. By the time of the 1839 General Chapter, changes in the Congregation were afoot. The new General Superior was the charismatic Father Anthony Testa. By April of 1840, Father Testa decided that Dominic should go to England, though he worried for Dominic’s failing health. He sent him with three companions to Belgium to make a foundation in that country with the hope that from Belgium the mission to England could be realised. Dominic established the first Passionist monastery outside of Italy in 1840, at Ere in Belgium.
Finally, the time came to establish the first Passionist residence in England. Father Dominic and a companion went to England and obtained a house at Aston Hall in Staffordshire. One of his first ministries was the celebration of the 1842 Holy Week services.
While in Italy and later in Belgium, Barberi had always kept up a keen interest in the Oxford Movement. In 1841 a letter by John Dobree Dalgairns appeared in L’Univers explaining the position of the Anglican High Church party. Barberi decided to respond to this letter in the mistaken belief that it represented the views of the entire faculty of Oxford University. (Dalgairns was an undergraduate when he wrote the letter.) Barberi’s “Letter to University Professors at Oxford” describes his long hopes for the conversion of England and his belief that the men of Oxford would be instrumental in such a conversion. The letter, through the help of Ignatius Spencer, eventually ended up in the hands of Dalgairns, who was residing with John Henry Newman at Littlemore. Barberi repudiated the Anglican claim that the 39 Articles could be interpreted in a Catholic light. In their continued correspondence Dalgairns and Barberi debated the Catholic position and Dalgairns requested copies of the Passionist Rule and Dominic’s ‘The Lament of England’. Eventually Dalgairns was received into the Catholic Church by Barberi at Aston in September 1845.
In October of that same year Barberi visited Littlemore, where Newman made his confession to him. Newman relates in his “Apologia” how Barberi arrived soaked from the rain and as was drying himself by the fire when Newman knelt and asked to be received into the Catholic Church. This event is marked by a sculpture in the Catholic Church of Blessed Dominic Barberi at Littlemore. Two of Newman’s companions at Littlemore were also received, and Barberi celebrated Mass for them the following morning. Subsequently, Newman and Barberi always took note of each other’s careers.
Dominic felt immensely blessed to have received the famous Anglican into the Catholic Church. “What a spectacle it was for me to see Newman at my feet! All that I have suffered since I left Italy has been well compensated by this event. I hope the effects of such a conversion may be great.”
English vocations were few but Dominic was deeply consoled by the arrival of Father George Spencer who received the habit on 5 January 1847. Spencer was a convert of some years and already ordained, when Dominic came to England in 1841. Now as a fellow Passionist, he proved a great comfort to Dominic and the Passionists. A little note of interest – Venerable Ignatius Spencer of St Paul (1799-1864) born as Hon George Spencer, was a son of the Second Earl Spencer. He converted from Anglicanism to the Roman Catholic Church, entered the Passionist Order in 1841 at the age of 31, scandalising some in the Victorian society and spent his life working for the conversion of England to the Catholic faith. He is also known as the ‘Apostle of Prayer for England’ and the great-great uncle of Princess Diana (died 1997).
In August, 1849, Dominic was returning to Aston Hall from London. About five miles from Reading, Dominic got desperately sick. He was taken off the train to be attended by a doctor but there was not a room for him at the small station of Pangbourne. Father Louis put him back on the train for Reading. He died there from a heart attack at 3:00 p.m., 27 August 1849.
In the tradition of Blessed Dominic (he was beatified by Pope Paul VI in 1963), Passionists would be aware that ecumenism is an essential part of their heritage. At the time of the Second Vatican Council, Passionists accepted with joy the call to engage in ecumenical ministries. The “renewal” of the Congregation in the spirit of Vatican II would challenge the modern Passionist to this ecumenical mission.
In his years in England Dominic established three churches and several chapels, preached innumerable missions and received hundreds of converts, not only Newman but others such as Spencer and Dalgairns and many unknown by name.
St Agilo of Sithin
Bl Angelus of Foligno
St Anthusa the Younger
St Arontius of Potenza
St Baculus of Sorrento
St Caesarius of Arles
St David Lewis
Bl Dominic Barberi of the Mother of God C.P. (1792-1849)
St Ebbo of Sens
St Etherius of Lyons
St Euthalia of Leontini
St Fortunatus of Potenza
Bl Gabriel Mary
St Gebhard of Constance
St Giovanni of Pavia
St Honoratus of Potenza
Bl Jean Baptiste Guillaume
Bl Jean-Baptiste Souzy
St John of Pavia
St Licerius of Couserans
St Malrubius of Merns
Bl Maria del Pilar Izquierdo Albero
St Narnus of Bergamo
Bl Roger Cadwallador
St Rufus of Capua
St Sabinian of Potenza
St Syagrius of Autun
Martyrs of Tomi – 5 saints: A group of 17 Christians imprisoned and excuted for their faith during the persecutions of Diocletian. They miraculously were unburned by fire and untouched by wild animals. We know the names and a few details on five of them – John, Mannea, Marcellinus, Peter and Serapion. They were tied to stakes and burned alive; they emerged unharmed – thrown to wild animals in the amphitheatre; the animals ignored them; they were beheaded in 304 in Tomi, Mesia (modern Costanza, Romania).
Martyred in the Spanish Civil War:
• Blessed Buenaventura Gabika-Etxebarria Gerrikabeitia
• Blessed Esteban Barrenechea Arriaga
• Blessed Fernando González Añon
• Blessed Francisco Euba Gorroño
• Blessed Hermenegildo Iza Aregita
• Blessed José María López Carrillo
• Blessed Juan Antonio Salútregui Iribarren
• Blessed Pedro Ibáñez Alonso
• Blessed Pelayo José Granado Prieto
• Blessed Plácido Camino Fernández
• Blessed Quirino Díez del Blanco
• Blessed Ramón Martí Soriano