Phone: 203 742-1450
Fairfield County Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of Bridgeport

March 21, 2024

“And though I stumble day by day, he shall not leave my side.”
— “My Chains Are Gone”

John Newton's JourneyEnglishman John Newton suffered a lot of pain in his life, but he inflicted even more. His mother died while his father was at sea, and the young man eventually went to sea and pursued the work of his father — a slave trader. He sailed the coast of Africa and captured people to sell into slavery. Then, on one journey the ocean was ravaged by a storm that swept some of his crew overboard, and Newton was sure they all were going to drown, and he cried out, “Lord have mercy on us!” Eleven hours later, the sea was calmed. It was March 21, 1748, a day that he reserved for prayer for the rest of his life.

The experience changed his life. He eventually ended his career as a slave trader and studied Greek and Hebrew, had a conversion and became an Anglican priest. From then, he began to advocate for an end to the slave trade. But the most enduring legacy he had was a hymn he wrote at 47 years old called “Amazing Grace.” It was grace that saved him from his wretched life of sin and taught him that we can all have new beginnings. Grace is available to us all. Those who are grieving can relate to the hymn because it talks about the incomprehensible ability of God’s grace to pick us up and take us out of the darkness and bring us into the light. Newton died in 1807 at 82, a different man.

For 350 years, the song has been sung by ordinary people in pews, by musicians, by choirs and by artists, including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Judy Collins, Mahalia Jackson and the Royal Scots Dragoon bagpipers.

Hear a version by the Brigham Young University Noteworthy singers: (

Amazing Grace

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.


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