Towards the end of last year, the seriousness of the physical condition of Canon John Redford was made known. He is suffering from an inoperable cancer of the pancreas, which the best medical opinion has informed us, if untreated, leads to death in six months, and if treated by chemotherapy would extend his life possibly for another six months.
We would like to invite all who those wish to participate to pray for the healing of Fr John through a novena – nine days of prayer – for the canonisation of the Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman.
The novena will begin on Friday 11th January, to end nine days later on January 20th. Prayers of course can be said anywhere, but would be most suitable during Mass. Perhaps a suggestion might be to begin with a Mass for the intention of a cure and for the canonisation of Cardinal Newman on January 11th, and with a Mass to end the novena on January 20th.
We will be saying the following prayer each day of the novena:
‘O God, who raised up Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman to be a model of those who seek for the truth and find it in full communion with the Catholic Church, graciously grant as a sign of his full sanctity the miraculous healing of Canon John Redford, who followed the same spiritual path, in order that he may continue his work of teaching and writing for your glory, who live and reign for ever and ever, Amen.’
With profound thanks to all who will be joining us for this novena.
Dr Petroc Willey
Acting Director, Maryvale Institute
Fr John writes:
‘There is no question that the cancer as it now exists in my body is lethal, and treatment for it is only palliative, not with any hope of a medical cure. Therefore, it seems clear, if by prayers offered to God asking for Cardinal Newman’s intercession, this cancer was cured, that there is no doubt that this would be a miracle. The fact that there was no known cure, plus the coincidence of prayers for the canonisation of Cardinal Newman, would make this a miracle worthy of submission to Rome as one at least of the miracles required for John Henry Cardinal Newman Servant of God to be elevated to full sanctity.
‘I must insist (everyone who knows me will know that I would insist!) that we follow the doctrine of Holy Church here. The Church is quite clear that such a miracle for which we pray is a gratia gratis data, ‘a grace gratuitously given’. It is distinct from a gratia by which we are saved, such as baptism and the eucharist. Those are the blessings of the New Covenant in the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which will never be denied to any member of the human race who asks for such a grace, provided that a response of faith is given by the recipient.
‘On the contrary, a gratia gratis data is a purely gratuitous gift, like a vision or a private revelation (cf. CCC 66-67). That special gift will be given only if the Lord wishes so for his own purposes, perhaps a purpose which we shall never know on this earth.
‘If therefore our prayers for a miracle through the intercession of Blessed John Henry Newman are not successful, we may not conclude that there is something wrong (for example, and as is likely, with me!) It will be simply that the Almighty, for his own reasons, does not wish a miracle to happen through this means. Perhaps he wants me to go fairly quickly to be with him, as Paul said so long ago, to the Philippian Christians:-
‘For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If it is to be life in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.’ (Phil 1:21-24)’.
Protect the Pope comment: I’ve known Canon John since I was his altar server at the age of 10 at Holy Cross Church, Carshalton. His defence of the truth and love for the Church are but expressions of his great love for Our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true man. He is a great example of the type of priest and Catholic we need for these times of confusion and apostasy. Please join me in praying this novena for Canon Redford.