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By Deacon Keith Fournier

7/29/2010 (5 years ago)

Catholic Online (

The communion of saints is real. The prayers of the Saints are efficacious.In fact, they can - and do- produce miracles.

I rejoiced when the "Congregation for the Causes of Saints" confirmed the miracle attributed to Cardinal John Henry Newman, the healing of a severe spinal disorder suffered by Deacon Jack Sullivan from the Archdiocese of Boston. I identify with Deacon Jack for several reasons. I was born and raised in Boston, I love his plain spoken manner, I believe in miracles, I am a great admirer of Cardinal Newman, I am a deacon and I believe that this trip to the United Kingdom by Benedict, the Pope of Christian Unity, is prophetic. 

Deacon Jack Sullivan Reads the Gospel and preaches at the Newman Oratory.

Deacon Jack Sullivan Reads the Gospel and preaches at the Newman Oratory.


By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (

7/29/2010 (5 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - Because of my deep admiration for John Henry Cardinal Newman, and my conviction that the move of our Anglican friends into the full communion of the Church is a part of a prophetic plan for the coming full communion of Christ's Church, I follow with great interest the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom. I have also followed the cause of John Henry Cardinal Newman. He is one of my heroes!

I rejoiced when the "Congregation for the Causes of Saints" confirmed the miracle attributed to Cardinal John Henry Newman, the healing of a severe spinal disorder suffered by Deacon Jack Sullivan from the Archdiocese of Boston. I identify with Deacon Jack for several reasons. I was born and raised in Boston, I love his plain spoken manner, I believe in miracles, I am a great admirer of Cardinal Newman, I am a deacon and I believe that this trip to the United Kingdom by Benedict, the Pope of Christian Unity, is prophetic. 

In speaking of the miracle Deacon Sullivan told the London Times: "If it wasn't for Cardinal Newman's intercession it would have been virtually impossible to complete my diaconate formation and be ordained for the Archdiocese of Boston...Nor would I have been able to continue in my chosen profession as a magistrate in our court system to support my family." He explained that he  has developed "a very deep sense of the reality of God's love for each one of us, especially during times of immense difficulties and suffering....I have developed a very real relationship with Cardinal Newman in frequent prayer and I try to pass on what marvelous gifts I have received to those I meet."

The approval of the miracle constituted the final step before Pope Benedict XVI could proceed with the beatification of the beloved Anglican convert and British Cardinal. One more miracle will be required in the process leading to canonization. I have no doubt it will occur. I believe that Cardinal Newman's prayers have been a part of the historic movement which led to the Anglican Ordinariates and the release of the Apostolic Constitution. 

John "Jack" Sullivan, 70, is a brother deacon and fellow lawyer.In his experience of the power og God manifested through the prayers of His Saints, I find great hope.He experienced a miracle assisted through the intercessory prayer of John Henry Cardinal Newman. He shared his story at Arnold Hall Conference Center. In years past, before my ordination, I attended several retreats there with Opus Dei. However, Opus Dei has no place for Deacons.

It seems that when the founder of "the work" (the popular term for Opus Dei) my lawyer friend (St Escriva was a lawyer) and inspiration, founded the work, there were no permanent deacons. So, my ordination fifteen years ago was a crossroads concerning my participation in Opus Dei. Perhaps some day the leaders of the work will reconsider the role of Deacons. I know that their founder has a great place in his heart for them. After all, he is still alive in Christ, a part of that great cloud of witnesses, the communion of Saints. I know this is true because he is one of my greatest intercessors and teachers.

My good friend of many years, Fr C John McCloskey III, a Newman scholar, had hosted a series of programs for EWTN on Cardinal Newman in 2000. At the end of the program wherin Father CJ interviewed  Fr Ian Ker, a  Newman biographer from Oxford, he put a message on the television screen that read: "If you receive any favors from Cardinal Newman, please contact the Birmingham Oratory in England." The Oratory is where Newman lived and died. 

Jack Sullivan, not yet ordained, was watching EWTN that night. He prayed and asked for the intercession of the good Cardinal. He had been in formation to be ordained to the Order of Deacon for the Archdiocese of Boston. He had just finished his second year. However, he had experienced a terrible injury which threatened his fulfilling his vocation. He had awakened one day with intense pain in his legs, nearly unable to even walk.  

He went to Jordan Hospital in Plymouth where a CAT scan disclosed that five vertebrae were squeezing his spinal cord and creating a bulge. He was told that he might soon be paralyzed. When the specialist physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital reviewed his case upon referral they said it was the worst back issue they had reviewed in 17 years. He was advised to undergo surgery.

This was a problem for this man who, like me, had a call to ordination. He was advised to forget resuming his studies for the diaconate. He knew he could not do so. That night while watching EWTN he prayed. Here are the words he remembers: "Please, Cardinal Newman, intercede with God so that I might go back to classes and be ordained."  Well, the good cardinal is a powerful intercessor in the communion of Saints. The next day, Jack felt no pain and could walk without difficulty. Another specialist at New England Baptist Hospital said the surgery was not necessary. He resumed his studies. 

The story does not end there. He finished his third year of studies. But in 2001 the intense pain returned. He was unable to walk and confined to a wheelchair. The Doctors finally performed surgery in August of 2001. It was followed by serious complications. The protective membrane around Jack's spine ruptured. The prognosis was bleak.

Jack Sullivan again called on Cardinal Newman to pray for him. It was then that he experienced what he called an experience of heat, a tingling sensation and wonderful peace which came upon him. After about ten minutes he stood straight up and walked without a cane or any pain. He contacted Fr. CJ McLoskey, a man of deep faith. He was encouraged to believe that the Lord had intervened through the intercession of John Henry Cardinal Newman.

In fact, that was precisely  what had happened. The communion of saints is real! The prayers of the Saints are efficacious.In fact, they can - and do- produce miracles.

On September 14 2002, Jack was ordained as a member of the Clergy of the Catholic Church, a Deacon. He walks a mile and a half every day. He now has no restrictions. The miracle was closely scrutinized with testimony from 10 witnesses. It faced the strong review of panels of medical experts and theologians. Finally it was recognized by the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints and by Pope Benedict XVI. It is the real deal. Praise God!

Deacon Jack Sullivan will have the honor of proclaiming the Gospel at Cofton Park Birmingham on Sunday, September 19, 2010 where Pope Benedict XVI will preside and beatify John Henry Cardinal Newman. This will be the first beatification by Pope Benedict XVI since he was elected Pope in April 2005. Normally the Cardinal of the Diocese presides over a beatification. Over 1,000 priests will concelebrate and help with the distribution of Holy Communion. Four deacons will assist; one will be Deacon Jack Sullivan. He will stand up straight, freed from the debilitating injury through the intercession John Henry Cardinal Newman, and proclaim the Gospel.


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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
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