WDTPRS: Collect for Bl. John Henry Newman and “Lead, Kindly Light”

On the Italian site Oratoriani I found that the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments on 15 June approved the liturgical texts for the Memorial of (soon-to-be) Blessed John Henry Newman.

Here is the COLLECT for the Memorial, which could perhaps be on 9 October, the day in 1845 he was brought into greater light and received into Holy Catholic Church at Littlemore.  The Common of Pastors will be used. 

Remember that the feasts of "blesseds" are not for the whole Latin Church.  They are usually just local feasts or feasts for interested religious institutes. 

At first, this memorial will only be used by Oratorians, the Oratorian Confederation. I don’t believe the local Church of the Archdiocese of Birmingham will use this memorial, even though that is where the tomb of Bl. John Henry is found.  Local Churches will have to request the use the memorial.

Deus, qui beátum Ioánnem Henrícum, presbýterum,
lumen benígnum tuum sequéntem
pacem in Ecclésia tua inveníre contulísti,
concéde propítius,
ut, eius intercessióne et exémplo,
ex umbris et imagínibus
in plenitúdinem veritátis tuae perducámur

Buried in the entry for confero in our Lewis & Short Dictionary we find "With the access. idea of application or communication, to devote or apply something to a certain purpose, to employ, direct, confer, bestow upon, give, lend, grant, to transfer to (a favorite word with Cic.)."  The problem is that contulisti here has the sense of "grant", but then we also have to deal with concede down the line, which also normally comes off as "grant".  So, I will stick with "grant" for confero and then use a word a certain bishop in Pennsylvania might not like for concede.

An imago is certainly an "image" or "copy", it is also a "ghost, likeness, echo, semblance, appearance" or "shade".


O God, who granted blessed John Henry,
a priest following Your kindly light,
to find peace in Your Church,
graciously vouchsafe,
by his intercession and example,
that we may be drawn from shadows and shades
into the fullness of Your truth.

You will notice right away the reference to the a poem written by Ven. John Henry in 1833 later rendered as a popular hymn, Lead Kindly Light.

You might know the story of its writing.  When the young Newman was traveling in Italy he fell ill. He experienced a time of great emotional and spiritual discouragement. When a nurse asked him what troubled him, he responded, "I have work to do in England."  Eventually he got passage on a boat home, but they were constrained to heave to, slowed by a thick fog and nearby cliffs.  Trapped in the fog, on June 16 Newman wrote The Pillar of the Cloud:

Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom
          Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home—
          Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see

The distant scene—one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor pray’d that Thou
          Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path, but now
          Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,

Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
          Will lead me on,
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
          The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile

Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.


A version of the hymn, just to help you ponder.


[NB: A contact tipped me that on the Oratorian site an earlier version of the CDWDS version had been posted.  It has been corrected.]

O God, who bestowed on the Priest blessed John Henry Newman
the grace to follow your kindly light
and find peace in your Church;
graciously grant that,
through his intercession and example,
we may be led out of shadows and images
into the fulness of your truth.

In this world we walk by faith, not by sight. 

We peer towards mystery through the dark glass, through the crack in the rock, through chink in the garden wall. 

The hope of Christians draws us to the One who will draw us forth from this shadowy place into His marvelous light.

Holy Church is our surest path to that which is good and true and beautiful.


A comment below states that ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem was Ven. John Henry’s epitaph.

However we put this, "from shadows and shades into truth", "from out of shadows and reflections into truth", "from shadows and phantasms into truth", "from illusions and approximations into reality"… this has a rather Platonic ring to it. 

For Newman this certainly also meant something like "from the Church of England and from Anglo-Catholic to the Roman Catholic Church".

You might imagine yourself, if you have your Platonic hat on, moving away from the back of the cave, turning around, and heading out of the cave to your source.

At the heart of the Platonic and Augustinian paradigm is conversion – the turning point at which we, who are moving out and away, begin to return.

This is a paradigm found in many of the Latin Church’s more ancient prayers.  It is also found in the experience of the penitent and of the worshiper at Holy Mass.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Fr. Z, I went to a Lutheran Church garage sale and there was this box full of things so I started digging through. I found the most beautiful OLD medal of Blessed John Neumann and on the reverse is Our Lady of Perpetual Help. It appears to be sterling silver and is about one inch in diameter and is from Italy. The craftsmanship is wonderful. I am looking to give the medal to someone, who has a devotion to him. I can be reached here: semperfi@semperficatholic.com

  2. Soon to be Blessed Cardinal Newman is one major reason for my conversion. There will be great rejoicing in my home on the day of the beatification.

  3. JulieC says:

    Here’s another version of Lux Benigna, if you’re partial to English choral music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QSG1ymbEzs&feature=related

    I’m also very fond of Newman’s poem, The Dream of Gerontius. Very salutary and entertaining reading on the four last things.

    I like the very dramatic part where the priest commands the soul of the dying Gerontius to leave this world:

    Profiscere, anima Christiana, de hoc mundo!
    Go forth upon thy journey, Christian soul!
    Go forth from this world! Go, in the name of God,
    The omnipotent Father, who created thee!
    Go, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord,
    Son of the living God, who bled for thee!
    Go, in the name of the Holy Spirit, who
    Hath been poured out on thee! . . .

  4. Rob F. says:


    What happened to “beatum”? Isn’t it blessed John Henry?

    An oversight, obviously. But shouldn’t CDWDS proof read these things before releasing them?

  5. Nazianzus says:

    When was this announced? It just so happens that yesterday I created a blog named after a line of “Lead Kindly Light.”


    Where did the icon of Newman come from?

  6. Ioannes Andreades says:

    I’ll assume that the construction conferre+acc+infin. is well established in Ecclesiastical Latin. Certainly, infinitives are sometimes used to express purpose in late Latin. Cicero would have written the third line as “ad pacem in Ecclesia tua inveniendam contulisti.”

  7. Rob F. says:

    Clicking through to the link, I see that CDWDS has now corrected their version. Good for them. The whole of the office propers is lovely. I normally pray Liturgia Horarum in Latin, but this October 9th, I think I may have to make an exception for the second reading and pray it in the original English. :)

  8. AnAmericanMother says:

    (soon to be Blessed) Cardinal Newman also wrote this beautiful prayer, one of my favorites:

    May God support us all the day long, till the shades lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in His mercy may He give us a safe lodging and a holy rest, and peace at the last.

  9. Father G says:

    “Where did the icon of Newman come from?”


    That icon comes from iconographer, Br. Robert Lentz OFM. https://www.trinitystores.com/?artist=1

    I don’t care for his style of iconography, especially since he has made “icons” of inappropriate subject matters and of people whose public lives were controversial to say the least.

  10. TrueLiturgy says:

    I actually like the CDWDS version better than the WDTPRS version. Of course, I’d prefer it to be just in Latin. No offense Father! :-)

  11. Rob F. says:

    Ioannes Andreades, You see an infinitive of purpose, but I see an infinitive phrase with “beatum Ioannem Henricum” as the subject. I’m not sure what Cicero would have seen.

    Best regards,

  12. Joshua08 says:

    ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem was Cardinal Newman epitaph on his grave, so even the end of the prayer is also an allusion

  13. Andrew says:

    Ioannes Andreades:

    “… non audeo dicere, ne forte id ipsum verbum ponam, quod abs te aiunt falso in me solere conferri.” (Cic. ad Familiares 5,5)

    “in me solere conferri” = accusativus + infinitivus + conferre

  14. Ioannes Andreades says:

    Rob F., I was trying (haud feliciter) to be terse and cheeky simultaneously. Conferre in this sense won’t admit an infinitive phrase in classical Latin (it will admit a dir. obj.+ad). Classical Latin won’t admit an infinitive to express purpose here either. In order for this sentence to be grammatical, one (or both) of those situations needs to have changed in medieval Latin.

  15. Ioannes Andreades says:

    Andrew, in the example you adduce, conferri is dependent upon solere not solere upon conferri.

  16. albinus1 says:

    Moreover, in that example from Cicero, “me” is the object of “in”, not the subject of “solere”.

  17. TrueLiturgy: I actually like the CDWDS version better than the WDTPRS version.

    Fine! I am not competing in any way with the official versions.

    I am just handing you another crowbar with which you can pry into what the prayer really says.

  18. Henry Edwards says:

    So, I will stick with “grant” for confero and then use a word a certain bishop in Pennsylvania might not like for concede:

    graciously vouchsafe

    Whereas CDW decided not to risk His Excellency’s ire:

    graciously grant

    But can we be confident that “graciously” will not also set him off again? After all, after 40 years of new liturgy, how many pew-sitters know what “gracious” means any more?

  19. chatto says:

    This is awesome news! I visited Oxford and Littlemore 2 weeks ago – definitely worth it if any of you American readers are over here. But what’s all this about local churches having to apply to use the Propers? We’ve already got the Proper collect for Blessed Dominic Barberi in our national calendar. Surely we can have Blessed John Henry Newman’s as well?

  20. Fr. Andrew says:

    The line regarding the shadows and figures reminds me of St. Maximus the Confessor, one of my favorite Eastern saints. In his Four Centuries on Love, St. Maximus says: “In this present age the truth is shrouded in shadows and figures, what is needed is the blessed passion of Holy Love.”(III, 67) (rough quote from memory).

  21. gambletrainman says:

    Thanks, Father. To me it is always a pleasure to hear Frank Patterson. Great Irish tenor.

  22. Rob Cartusciello says:

    I must agree with Fr. G. Robert Lentz wrote good icons at one time, but has lapsed into heterodoxy. Many of his icons, such as Harvey Milk & Lord of the Dance, reflect the worst of Episcopalian sensibilities. The theology of his icons, including claim that Cosmas & Damian were gay lovers, is similarly suspect.

  23. irishgirl says:

    I thought the icon was the work of a Jesuit who is in New Mexico. His first name is ‘William’, but his last name escapes me right now.

    What is the name of the tune used for ‘Lead, Kindly Light’? Sounds Irish!

    I remember reading accounts of Queen Victoria’s death; the Bishop of Winchester, Randall Davidson, and the local Vicar of Whippingham [Isle of Wight], Clement Smith, read prayers and hymns at her bedside. One of the hymns was ‘Lead, Kindly Light’, and the Bishop wrote in his memoirs at that the last verse, where it says, ‘And with the morn, those angel faces smile/which I have loved long since, and lost awhile’, he had the impression that she was listening to him. To quote from a book I have, ‘The Royal Way of Death’: ‘For her, the waiting would be over now’ ….she would be meeting Prince Albert.

  24. AnAmericanMother says:

    Father G,

    I’m glad to hear you say that, because I find the icon of Cdl. Newman vaguely disturbing. Something about the eyes is not right.

    My favorite of the many portraits of Cdl. Newman is the sketch by portraitist George Richmond of Newman as a young Oxford student:

    John Henry Newman, 1844

  25. AnAmericanMother says:


    The tune is called “Sandon” – by Charles Henry Purday (1799-1885). He wrote it in 1857, while he was music director at the Crown Court Scots Church in Covent Garden, London. Because of the odd meter ( the three tunes for Cdl. Newman’s poem were ‘written for the occasion’.

    Purday was as English as he could possibly be — but the singer is definitely Irish, gives it a certain flavor!

  26. AnAmericanMother says:

    Father G,

    Correction: If the date is correct, Cdl. Newman was an Anglican minister and no longer a student at the time that portrait was taken, but my goodness he looks young! (I must be getting old.)

  27. Rob F. says:

    Ioannes Andreades said, “Conferre in this sense won’t admit an infinitive phrase in classical Latin”.

    Yesterday I would have said that, as far as I knew, in ecclesiastical Latin it wouldn’t either, but that is no longer true. Sir Watkin over at Father Hunwicke’s blog made an interesting (and very beautiful) find. From the hymn “O Nata Lux” (15th century):

    Nos membra confer effici / Tui beati corporis.

    Lumen benignum indeed!

  28. irishgirl says:

    AnAmericanMother-thanks for the info on the tune!

    And I like that sketch of the ‘young’ Newman, too! I saw it on Fr. Tim Finigan’s blog, linking onto a video that ‘some lads’ [as he called them] created in advance of the Holy Father’s visit in September.

    Is ‘Lead, Kindly Light’ going to be sung at any time during the papal trip? I hope so-this is something that most people remember about Cardinal Newman.

  29. amsjj1002 says:

    The 1844 date is indeed correct; Fr. Newman sat four times for Richmond in July. Henry Wilberforce, who commissioned it, wrote: “I cannot well say how much I like and value it. I almost expect to hear your voice at times, and the same is the feeling of others. The likeness is no doubt diminished by not having your glasses which seem to me an almost necessary part of you — still I think Richmond has judged rightly here as if sure they must alter the face — He having send it for me to see and wants he tells me one more sitting to complete it — I dare say you will be so kind as to let him have this when it suits you” (LD, X, 310).

    Miss Giberne later made a copy of the Richmond portrait and added those missing glasses (without which dear Father was quite blind, being exceedingly short-sighted). The only online version I was able to find of it was at http://www.newman.org.uk/

    Alas, it’s rather small, but I prefer it b/c it’s closer to what his contemporaries would have seen.

  30. David says:

    Sorry, am I missing something obvious here?

    “pacem in Ecclésia tua inveníre contulísti”
    Fr Z: “to find Your peace in the Church”
    CDWDS: “and find peace in your Church”

    Fr Z, how are you getting “your peace” out of “pacem in Ecclesia tua”? Unless the Latin is really “pacem… tuam,” but then the CDWDS translation is wrong.

    Beyond the grammar, Ecclesia tua (rather than pacem tuam) seems to put nice emphasis on conversion to the the one true Church, the only Church that is ontologically “tua” rather than merely a human creation, as being the prerequisite for interior peace.

  31. AnAmericanMother says:

    Thanks, amsjj.

    Cdl Newman does look more like himself with the glasses. My father had cataract surgery last year at 85, and no longer needs his glasses (he, and I, were also extremely short-sighted before surgery. I had lasik back around 1990.) He looks so different without his glasses – he had worn them since he was a boy.

    Richmond I think is something of an unsung artist. He really has a knack of capturing a likeness, especially in his chalk drawings. His portrait of a young Charles Darwin is of course well known, but I think his Charlotte Bronte is incredibly revealing.

  32. Rob F. says:

    A correction to my post above. Lentini dates “O Nata Lux” to the 9th century.

  33. AnAmericanMother says:

    Best setting of “O Nata Lux”:

    Tallis: O nata lux.

    Love the cross-relation in the next to last bar – classic 17th c. English.

    btw, you’re not losing your mind, it’s pitched a step and a half ( ! ? ! ) above the notation.

  34. amsjj1002 says:


    I found this larger photo by accident, yay! The other Newman picture was so small, it gave me eyestrain. :-)


    Re: Darwin; when I see him with his beard in later pictures, I always do a double-take since Richmond’s Darwin is my mental image of him.


    Ven. John Henry Newman, pray for us!

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