The day is October 13, 2019, and the sun is shining brightly over Saint Peter’s Square. Tens of thousands of pilgrims pack themselves within the square to witness the canonization mass of five saints. Among those being canonized is Blessed John Henry Newman. It was humbling to be among the faithful in St. Peter’s Square as Pope Francis said, “We declare and define Blessed John Henry Newman..to be (a) saint and we enroll (him) among the saints.” His canonization is a triumphant moment in the history of the whole Church, but particularly for the English-speaking Catholic Church.
John Henry Newman touched the lives of many individuals in his lifetime including our founder, Bishop James Roosevelt through their letter correspondence. More recently, in the last few decades Newman has substantially impacted the lives of two Americans through miraculous healings; Deacon Jack Sullivan was cured of a disabling spinal condition, and Melissa Villalobos recovered from life-threatening complications in pregnancy. Yet, these are not the only people who have been personally touched by the life of John Henry Newman.
Msgr. Richard Liddy, Director of the Center for Catholic Studies at Seton University, through the years has been greatly influenced by John Henry Newman’s life and teaching. He was privileged to be on the Commission in preparation for Newman’s canonization on October 13, 2019, and signed the “Positio” paper delivered to the Vatican stating that Newman’s major philosophical and theological papers reflected a holy person whose theology reflected the faith of the Church.
I was a senior in high school, when John Henry Newman changed my life. His prayer, “The Mission of My Life,” is perhaps the reason why I write and edit this publication today 1800 miles from my home in Colorado. He says, “God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.”
Newman is the namesake of our movement to restore this University to a place focused on the pursuit of universal knowledge, to form students’ minds, and to emphasize the importance of theology as a branch of knowledge. Therefore, his canonization is a fitting moment to end my term as Editor in Chief of “The Heart of the Hall.” The role will be passed on and split between two aspiring and able editors: Emma Newgarden and Bridgette Favale.
Emma is sophomore Classical Studies major from Staten Island, NY. She is a capable writer, and has done content editing, copy editing, and currently serves as a Managing Editor for the publication. She has attended writing seminars through the Veritas Forum, and will be the “Editor in Chief of Content.”
Bridgette is a sophomore English major from New Brunswick, NJ. She is capable writer, and has done copy editing, layout work for the online and in-print editions, and she currently serves as a Managing Editor for the publication. She will be the “Editor in Chief of Layout.”
For this Fall issue of “The Heart of the Hall,” we open with Bridgette, as she analyzes the difficulties and anxieties she experienced choosing and switching majors in the context of her faith. Next, Matt reflects upon Thanksgiving and its surrounding cultural and Christian context.
We then move to a movie review submitted by Ellen Mangan. She reviews a recent Amazon Prime release, “One Child Nation,” which reviews the brutality of the One Child Policy in China. Then, to discuss what is perhaps an equally uncomfortable subject, I analyze the relatively recent McCarrick scandal in the context of the Christian faith. Lastly, we end this issue on a poem submission by James Unciano, helping us to recognize that all the difficulties associated with college life and growing in faith can be resolved in the person of Christ.
Also, we at “The Heart of the Hall,” would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope to have you reading our Winter issue next semester.