REPRESENTATIVES from Blessed John Henry Newman RC College in Oldham were among the thousands gathered in the Vatican to celebrate the momentous occasion of Cardinal John Henry Newman – the school’s patron – becoming a Saint.

Six students and five staff members, including parish priest Father Gaspar Oladosu, made the pilgrimage to witness the canonisation – the ceremony in which the Pope elevates a person to Sainthood – in St Peter’s Square.

Cardinal John Henry Newman, who died in Birmingham in 1890, is the first English person to be made a saint in almost 50 years.

Glyn Potts, headteacher at the college, said: “The canonisation of our patron is a hugely special event for all at the college, including those of different or no faith.

“Regardless of your beliefs, St. John Henry Newman offers an example of leadership, humility, dedication and service that encourages all to strive to model his virtues. On this special occasion, we reflect on the work we have done and looking forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead for us individually and as a community.

“Our delegation to the service were ambassadors of our hope and pride in living out our vocation in the service of others. We may not know the specifics of our mission, but as a community, we know that it is in service of others, showing love to all and celebrating our talent in the service of God.”

Year nine pupil Sam, who attended the canonisation, said: “John Henry Newman is our patron and we have been part of his Mass when he became a Saint, that is special.”

Head boy Thomas added: “The trip has secured my faith even more, being part of this once in a lifetime occasion is just a privilege.”

There has also been a series of events within school including a whole school Be a Saint Week, where pupils have learned about why saints are chosen and the inspiration they can take for them, as well as celebrations and assemblies.

The school’s full name is Blessed John Henry Newman RC College and the school is now facing the unusual prospect of a name change to Saint John Henry Newman RC College next year to reflect the canonisation.