PLANS to build a chapel dedicated to the late Cardinal Newman off Oxford’s Woodstock Road will be unveiled today.
The chapel will form the centrepiece of a £5m development at the Oxford Oratory, with a new library and a new cloistered courtyard also proposed.
When John Henry Newman, the great Oxford churchman, died in 1890, the city refused to permit a memorial to him.
Now 120 years later, the Oxford Oratory will make good the omission as part of its plans for a new chapel, as an extension to the existing Oratory Church, which will also undergo improvements.
The Oratory will set out its plans ahead of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Britain in September, to mark the beatification of the great Victorian figure, who famously converted from the Church of England to Catholicism.
Beatification is effectively the final rung in the ladder to sainthood.
It was thought that the Pope might visit Oxford, where Newman had been vicar of the Oxford University Church of St Mary, in High Street.
The Oratory has already launched an appeal to pay for the Newman Chapel and the other building work. So far £1m has been raised.
Father Robert Byrne, Provost at the Oxford Oratory, said: “This is an exciting development not only for the parish but the whole of Oxford. It will be a fitting memorial for Cardinal Newman.”