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Miracle deacon to have role at Newman Mass

Archbishop Vincent Nichols greets Deacon Jack Sullivan at Westminster Cathedral last year (Photo: Mazur/CCN)

The American deacon miraculously cured with the help of John Henry Newman will have a major role in the Birmingham cardinal’s beatification Mass.

Deacon Jack Sullivan, from Massachusetts, whose spinal disorder was healed after he prayed for the intercession of Cardinal Newman, will proclaim the Gospel and act as deacon when Pope Benedict XVI beatifies Newman in September.

The miracle, subjected to rigorous tests by a panel of doctors and then by theologians, was necessary to advance the process of beatification, the first step towards sainthood. The Church requires one miracle attributed to a Servant of God for beatification and a second one for canonisation.

Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham said: “Another thing that is at the heart of the beatification is a recognition of Cardinal Newman’s intercessory powers. We can speak about prayer to the saints as part of the life of the Church. We feel a closeness to those who are part of the communion of the saints. So people do pray and have prayed to Cardinal Newman that his prayers to Almighty God may assist him in their daily lives.

“This has been recognised through the Church’s miraculous cure of an American deacon who is living and working in the Diocese of Boston [Massachusetts]. I also had the chance of meeting him quite recently. I am glad that he will be coming to Birmingham together with his wife Karen and some of his family as my personal guest for the beatification itself.”

The archbishop also said that the beatification was one of the main reasons for which Pope Benedict accepted the Government’s invitation to come to Britain.