Fr. Hermann Geissler, organiser of Rome’s annual Newman Walk, speaks to Vatican News about English St. John Henry Newman, and the importance of his writings today.
By Joseph Tulloch and Silvia Kritzenberger © vaticannews
Every year, devotees of St. John Henry Newman gather to walk the streets of Rome, visiting nine locations linked to the saint’s life.
Vatican News’ Silvia Kritzenberger was at this year’s event, which was organised by the International Centre of Newman Friends.
She spoke to Fr. Hermann Geissler, the head of the Centre, about St. John Henry Newman and the enduring importance of his writings.
Listen to the interview here
Fr. Geissler began the interview by explaining what draws him to the figure of Newman.
“He was a searcher of the truth,” the Austrian priest said. “In his youth, he was tempted to give up faith in God, to become a good, virtuous man, but to lose faith in God. But then God intervened in his life, and he understood that there are two self-evident things: myself, and my Creator. And he followed the light, the kindly light of that Creator, which talked to him in his conscience.”
Rome’s annual Newman Walk, he said, is “a very simple initiative. We visit nine places here in Rome that are linked to Newman’s life. It’s a wonderful way to get to know him and to get to know some of the places that are linked with [him] here in Rome, to pray together, to work together and to share community life together.”
Finally, he discusses the motto St. Newman chose when he was created cardinal, Cor ad cor loquitur, or ‘Heart speaks to heart.’
“By these simple words,” said Fr. Geissler, “Newman wants to express that faith is transmitted not by books or by systems or by institutions, but by living people, people who have a heart for the Lord, who somehow burn [with] love for the Lord. They can really then transmit that love also to others. Faith is transmitted from person to person by personal witness.”