Deacon Jack Sullivan (CNS photo)
WATERBURY – The deacon for the Archdiocese of Boston who advanced Cardinal John Henry Newman’s cause for beatification will speak at 3 p.m. May 6 at Naugatuck Valley Community Technical College.
The college’s Newman Club will sponsor the talk by Deacon Jack Sullivan in the dining room of the Technology Hall and a healing service at which he will preside.
"I think young people would like to know that miracles do happen," the deacon said by telephone, while outlining the program he will present.
Deacon Sullivan said he plans to talk about Newman’s life and to highlight some of Newman’s important spiritual thoughts, particularly as they relate to college students. He also will describe his own healing experience in 2001 and the process the Vatican uses in investigating miracles, he said.
"If it wasn’t for Newman, I would have been confined to a wheelchair and unable to complete my studies to be ordained in the Archdiocese of Boston," the deacon said. "I am very, very lucky."
He said his back is fine these days. "The spinal surgeon says that my back is as if I never had a problem, even though my problem was irreversible," he said.
The deacon said that he has devoted his ministry to Blessed Cardinal Newman and to God in gratitude for the cure that led to his ordination to the permanent diaconate.
He said he now serves as a deacon in a parish, is active in prison ministry and, when invited, speaks to groups about Cardinal Newman and the healing of his back.
Deacon Sullivan plans to show the students photos from the beatification Mass, for which Pope Benedict invited him to serve as a deacon.
He also will bring with him a relic of Blessed Cardinal Newman (a lock of hair), which is the only such relic in existence outside of Birmingham, England.
His official cause for beatification opened in 1959. Pope John Paul II declared him "venerable" in 1991, but a miracle was needed for the case to move forward.
The event is free and open to the public, but free-will offerings will be accepted.
Information is available from Dan Mathews of the Archdiocese of Hartford’s Office of Campus Ministry at 860-354-8727 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Newman Clubs bear the cardinal’s name because of his efforts to integrate Catholic spirituality into the academic life of college campuses.