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Thousands to attend Pope's beatification of UCD rector

Grainne Cunningham

Published 24/07/2010 | 05:00

THOUSANDS are expected to travel to England to attend the beatification Mass for Cardinal John Henry Newman, the first rector of University College Dublin.

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The ceremony in Cofton Park, Birmingham, on September 17 will see Pope Benedict XVI beatify the the revered clergyman and convert from the Church of England, who died in 1890.

Cardinal Newman, famous for his essay 'The Idea of a University', came to Dublin in 1854 at the request of the Irish bishops. They invited him to become rector of the newly established Catholic University of Ireland, now UCD.

The university began modestly with Newman opting for the familiar Oxford style of obtaining a number of houses for use as halls of residence and colleges. Under Newman's instruction, each of the three original houses had its own chapel and common table. After just four years, he retired, having penned a volume of lectures, including the well-known essay defining what a university should aspire to be.

While in Ireland, Newman commissioned architect John Hungerford Pollen to design the beautiful University Church, beside 86 St Stephen's Green, Dublin. The beatification will be the first to be carried out by Benedict since he was elected.

Irish Independent

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