Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Blessed Dominic Barberi in the Year for Priests

Blessed Dominic of The Mother of God. 1792-1894

The Venerable John Henry Newman will soon be beatified. We should not forget Blessed Dominic whom Newman regarded as a major influence on his decision to embrace Roman Catholicism. My own belief is that English Catholics have not shown enough enthusiasm for the canonization of Blessed Dominic. This cause should be taken up in thanksgiving to God for the gift of Newman as well as for the special love for England given firstly to St. Paul of the Cross and then transferred to Blessed Dominic.

Pope John Paul 11 called Dominic, "One example of the countless other priests who continue to serve as models of holiness for the clergy of today". Blessed Dominic said that he had waited thirty years to come to England. It was not an easy mission (to put it mildly!). He was here for eight years and seemingly worked himself to death. We owe it to his memory as well as to Divine Providence to pray for his canonization. He is called, "The Apostle of England", but can also be called an "Apostle of Unity". I recommend the Wikipedia article at

While still an Anglican Newman wrote that he considered there to be more holiness in the Church of England and Ireland than in the Roman Church. He said that if they (Roman Catholics) wanted to convert England they should preach like St. Francis Xavier and walk barefoot into the industrial cities and be prepared to be pelted by stones. Strangely (providentially!) Dominic came incredibly close to Newman's requirements. After setting up the first major Passionist centre at Aston Hall, Dominic decided to investigate the village of Stone, two miles away. He rented a room at an inn and there received Catholics and non-Catholics, administering the Sacrament of Confession and instructing potential converts. He walked the two-mile distance three times a week. He was attacked and insulted, even by children who called him names and threw dirt and stones at him as he passed. He was ridiculed and insulted. One man came to him pretending an interest in the Catholic Faith only to be seen in the local pub entertaining the locals with an insulting impersonation of this "stutterer" who had great difficulty pronouncing English words. The Passionist Congregation actually has the status of a monastic order and they are discalced (without shoes or socks). Whilst not being exactly barefoot, Dominic was the next best thing, and although he was not assaulted in Manchester or Leeds, he was attacked and villified in a place called Stone. Dominic seemed to have a powerful effect through his humble demeanor. To begin with many found him difficult to understand, but he was unmistakeably "holy". He was beatified by Pope Paul V1 in 1963. In his homily the Pope linked Blessed Dominic with both Newman and the Second Vatican Council. His story will not be complete until both he and Newman are canonized.


  1. Great post...added you to my links.

  2. Hi Father, Thanks for the drive by comment. I've given you a link too.

    I noticed on your profile that you also enjoy American Musical Theatre of the classical sort. So do I. You might use the "search" section of my website for "theatre" [I usually spell it that way] or "musical" If you click the tags you'lll see all of them I not infrequently put up pointers to Youtube theatre vids you might enjoy.

    And I liked you fav. movie choices. (Jack Lemmon in the Apartment is little known now, but it's excellent and a good exposition of common moral dilemmas.] You might enjoy this post re my fav movies with religious themes or this one too.

    Have a nice day, unless you have "other plans." :-D [your link is under the "Fr." section of my blogroll - it was easier to keep you all together.

    Oh, and every Sunday I offer my Sunday rosary for all priests, especially the ones on my blogroll.