Novena Prayer to Blessed John Henry Newman for the Healing of Canon John Redford

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.

11 comments to Novena Prayer to Blessed John Henry Newman for the Healing of Canon John Redford

  • Bob Hayes

    I shall pray this novena. Fr John is in my prayers.


  • I know Canon Redford. Really good guy. I’ll pray :)

  • Dr Mark Thorne

    I am deeply saddened to hear this news: I met Canon John briefly at a Catholic book fair a few years ago, but I read his three recent books during the first years of my conversion that were published by St. Pauls (Bad, Mad or God? – Proving the Divinity of Jesus from the Gospels; Proving the Virgin Birth from the Gospels; and Who was John? (another work relating to the Gospel according to St John), and greatly admire his exegetic skills and erudition in analysing the Gospels. His great love of Scripture and fidelity to the Church manifests itself on every page that he writes, and I would strongly recommend these books to anyone who is interested in scriptural exegesis, St. John’s Gospel in particular.

    I shall pray the novena; a young mother and teacher aged 38 recovered from cancer after I asked for intercessory prayers on her behalf (she was only given a 10% chance of survival, and the timing of her recovery coincided with the date I started to pray for her), and I feel that I have seen the power of prayer at work in my life on so many occasions. I sincerely hope that a miraculous healing may happen for Canon John through the Grace of God.

  • Sarah

    Oh yes, willingly joining in praying for Canon Redford (marvellous man!)through a Novena for the canonisation of the heroic Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman.

    Thank you Petroc and thank you Deacon Nick for giving us the opportunity to make an offering together for these causes dear to our hearts.

  • Patrick

    Very sad to hear this news, and of course will pray for Fr John. He is a real inspiration and source of much encouragement to those of us who study at Maryvale.

  • pattif

    I have benefited greatly from reading Canon Redford’s books and will gladly join in this novena.

  • I’m truly sorry to hear about Canon Redford and will most certainly join in the novena. I’ll also offer my weekly hour of adoration along with the novena for his full recovery. May the Lord in his love for Canon John restore him to full health.

  • Adriana Martinez

    May God give Canon Redford many consolations! I will also join in this Novena to dear Blessed John Henry.

  • Maryanne & Christine

    Both my sister and I were truly saddened to hear of the seriousness of Fr.John’s illness.
    Like Deacon Nick(our childhood friend) we have known Fr.John since he was a curate at Holy Cross Church Carshalton,& we were teenagers at the time.
    Fr John has been a great inspiration in both our lives, a wonderful humble human being and a true Shephard of Our Lord, who has left a lasting & deep impression of his great qualities in our hearts.
    We will join in praying this novena to Blessed John Henry Newman and pray that Our heavenly father, God of Compassion and Love hears all our prayers for the miraculous healing of Canon John.

    Thank you Nick

    • Deacon Nick Donnelly

      Hi Maryanne and Christine, thanks for getting in touch. I saw Fr John over the weekend. He is just how you would imagine him – matter of fact about facing the prospect of death. Remember when he took us on retreat to Allington Castle? We were just kids :-) Like you and Christine, Fr John has been a huge influence on my life and faith. How are you both keeping? So nice to hear from you. Is you’re mum OK back in Carshalton? Remember me and Martina to her. God bless, Nick

  • Dorothy B

    Dear Deacon Nick, this is to let you know that I have completed the novena prayers for Canon Redford’s recovery and for the canonisation of Blessed John Henry Newman.

    Thank you for your excellent blog. Long may you continue with it.

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