By Ann Marie Foley - 26 March, 2014
Addressing the congregation at his installation the Cardinal said, “To Newman, the university was about more than just qualifications.”
Quoting Cardinal John Henry Newman’s ‘The Idea of a University’, the Cardinal said university was for all students to have “eyes on all (his/her) company; (to be) tender towards the bashful, gentle towards the distant, and merciful towards the absurd; (s/he) can recollect to whom he is speaking; guards against unseasonable allusions, or topics which may irritate; s/he is seldom prominent in conversation, and never wearisome.”
He said a university education’s primary objective is to “shape the whole person; to cultivate the virtues and to leave an indelible mark on the mind and soul.”
The Cardinal suggested that Newman University in Birmingham does this and he prayed that the university would prepare its students to pursue their purpose in life.
As the formal head of the university, the Cardinal will take on a mostly ceremonial role, with ambassadorial and representative duties.
Archbishop Bernard Longley led the opening prayer and Archbishop Kevin McDonald preached the homily at the Mass of Celebration and Installation.
In his homily, Archbishop McDonald, Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Committee for Other Faiths, and the Committee for Catholic-Jewish Relations, highlighted the fact that Newman University is a popular choice for young people of all religions.
He said he would like to think this is because of “the outreach and openness to other religions that has developed within the Catholic Church since the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on non-Christian religions, Nostra Aetate, the 50th anniversary of which we celebrate next year.”
He paid tribute to Cardinal Murphy O’Connor as someone who over many years has sought to inspire people and communities to grasp opportunities and to have a vision for the future.
Cardinal Murphy O’Connor is the retired Archbishop of Westminster and former spiritual leader of the Church in England and Wales.
He was born in Reading, Berkshire, a son of George and Ellen Murphy-O’Connor who emigrated from Co Cork before World War I and married in 1921.
Newman University was founded in 1968 in Birmingham.
At that time it was called the Newman College of Higher Education, but in 2013 it was awarded a full university title. It was named after Cardinal Newman who had strong links with the city of Birmingham.