BY Ryan McDougall | October 18 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Young Scots in Rome see their school’s patron made a saint

Pupils from Cardinal Newman High in Bellshill travelled to Rome last week to witness their school’s patron saint be canonised by Pope Francis.

On Sunday October 13, Pope Francis canonised Cardinal John Henry Newman at an open air Mass in St Peter’s Square, attended by tens of thousands of pilgrims.

Cardinal Newman became the first English person since the 17th century to be declared a saint after a second miracle was attributed to his intercession.



In the weeks leading up to the canonisation, S6 Caritas pupils from Cardinal Newman High School delivered speeches and presented the school’s first class relics to Holy Family and St Gabriel’s parishes, before jetting off to Rome.

Headteacher Kenny Ross joined the pupils with his wife and young son, Benjie, who received a blessing from Pope Francis as he passed the crowd.

Mr Ross said: “We are most grateful to Fr Paul Denney [assistant priest of Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral, Motherwell], for leading prayer on our Rome pilgrimage and for allowing us to use his vast experience of the Vatican and Rome to help make the occasion a truly inspiring one.

“Without a doubt, as headteacher and as a father, I shall never forget His Holiness turn around immediately in front of us and bless our wonderful school group, including my little son and wife.

“We also acknowledge the outstanding fundraising undertaken by our parents and friends of the school, without whom this pilgrimage would not have been possible.”



A consultation led by the parent council will begin shortly on changing the name of the school to reflect Newman’s canonisation.

However, Mr Ross said it is possible that the school community ‘decide we continue with our current name of Cardinal Newman High School.’

Pauline Barr, principal teacher of RE at the school, praised the efforts of pupils both before and during the trip.

“We have had a very positive response to our extensive use of social media to promote prayer in the lead up to the canonisation, not least in our daily posting of pupils leading the Newman Novena,” she said.

“This has also enabled us to link with other Newman schools as we joined together in prayer.”



Following the Canonisation, Mrs Barr represented the school at a reception with the Prince of Wales at Urbaniana University where Newman studied for the priesthood.

The marking of their patron’s canonisation has not ended for the school yet however, as on November 22 the school will welcome Bishop Joseph Toal of Motherwell to officially commemorate Newman’s sainthood.

Mr Ross said the occasion is fitting due to its overlap with Catholic Education Week.

He added: “Bishop Joseph Toal will be the main celebrant of this Mass and plans are underway to ensure the occasion is a truly special celebration.”

St Cardinal Newman’s canonisation has been welcomed by Catholics and Christians from across the UK.

Patrick Grady, SNP MP for Glasgow North and vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Holy See, was the only parliamentarian from Scotland to attend the canonisation, an experience he called ‘an immense privilege.’


Papal encouragement

Mr Grady attended a symposium on St Newman’s legacy as a theologian, educator and priest, toured St Paul’s Outside the Walls basilica and met with several Scottish seminarians, before attending the canonisation Mass.

He said: “In his sermon, the Holy Father encouraged us to give thanks for the new saints, and to follow them as examples of how we live out our Faith in our daily lives.

“Archbishop Leo Cushley attended the formal canonisation dinner, and was present at the Mass, as was Bishop Hugh Gilbert. It was nice to meet Cardinal Newman High School, and staff from the Scots College, at a celebration after Mass on Sunday in the Collegio Urbano where Newman studied, which was attended by the Prince of Wales.

“It was a very memorable few days in Rome for the canonisation of the first saint from the UK in over 40 years.”

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