BY No Author | October 8 2010 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

7-CARDINAL-NEWMAN-HS-AWARDS

Pupils represent their patron

Cardinal Newman High School enjoys trip to namesake’s Beatification Mass in Birmingham

A large contingent of pupils and staff from Cardinal Newman High School in Bellshill were present at Cofton Park, Birmingham on Sunday September 19 for the Beatification Mass of their school patron.

Being the only Catholic high school in Scotland with Cardinal John Henry Newman as its spiritual patron, the school community was determined to be present at his Beatification Mass.

William Collum, principal teacher of RE at Cardinal Newman said it was ‘a fantastic opportunity’ for the school and pupils, who had ‘never experienced anything like this in their lives before.’

Michael McCusker, Cardinal Newman’s dux medallist—an award he received from Cardinal Keith O’Brien at the school’s prizegiving ceremony on the Wednesday after the Papal visit—added: “It is a wonderful privilege to be chosen to be allowed to go on this pilgrimage.

“I thought it was amazing there was going to be a Papal Mass in Scotland. But to actually have something so special as a Beatification Mass and to be able to go to it. That really is wonderful.”

The school brought a special memento with them to Cofton Park, the banner they had taken to Murrayfield in 1982 for the visit of Pope John Paul II.

“We found the banner in an RE cupboard that our teachers hadn’t cleaned out in years,” Clare Mitchell, an S6 pupil said. “At first we didn’t realise it was a banner.”

The pilgrimage to Cofton Park was ‘both enjoyable and memorable’ said school chaplain Fr Michael Brown.

He added: “The liturgy was moving and truly uplifting. With the high school and parish’s connection with Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, there was an added significance to the occasion and a sense of great honour and pride.”

“I was amazed by the amount of people who were there,” Matthew Martin, a fifth year pupil at Cardinal Newman, said.

“It was a long day, seven hours down and seven hours back; we left at half-past eleven on Saturday night and got back at the same time on Sunday night. But the Mass made up for it. I am quite proud that I got to go to represent the school.”

As is the case in most Catholic schools, not all the pupils come from a Catholic background. Harousa Saeed, a sixth-year student, who hopes one day to be a pharmacologist, was delighted to accompany her Catholic friends to Cofton Park.

“I come from a different faith to my school friends, my family is Muslim, but I am so glad I went to Birmingham,” she said. “It was great, a different experience, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Cardinal Newman’s headteacher Isabelle Boyd CBE reflected on what was a very special and emotional day for the school community.

“The Mass in Cofton Park was, indeed, special and when Pope Benedict XIV declared that John Henry Cardinal Newman ‘shall henceforth be invoked as Blessed’ many of us were moved to tears,” she said.

“It was not only a historic day for the Church in Britain but a fantastic moment in the history of our school. I was delighted to share the moment with pupils, parents, staff and friends of the school.”

The school is currently celebrating Newman week and a patronal feast day Mass was celebrated by Bishop Joseph Devine.

Pic: Paul McSherry

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