The beatification of John Henry Cardinal Newman held a special meaning for the staff and pupils of the Oratory School and the Oratory Prep School.
They attended the papal Mass in Birmingham for the beatification of John Henry Newman, the founder of their school.
Newman founded the Oratory School in 1859 in Edgbaston which later, due to expansion, moved to south Oxfordshire. The pupils played a major role in the day’s events with more than 100 in the choir and 18-year-old Rob McKay, the Oratory School captain and head sacristan, leading the main procession as the cross bearer.
Standing alongside the Pope while he read the prayers for the Mass was Oratory sacristan Ade Olopade, also 18, who was the book bearer responsible for holding the Missal from which the Pope read.
Watched by millions of people around the world and an estimated 60,000 in Cofton Park, Ade said: “I didn’t have even an ounce of fear or nerves but afterwards my hands began to shake – and I generally have a steady hand. I had to be careful that my fingers holding the page did not cover up the words as the Pope read.”
As a young person Ade felt excited and happy to be there but as a Catholic he said that he had a strong sense of pride being among so many other young Catholics who had turned out for the Mass, with so many banners, in support of the Holy Father.
He added: “It was my proudest moment as an Oratorian, and I think the boys at school feel the same way.
“It’s an honour to hold our heads high and say that our school is the first school to have been founded by a Blessed person and one that was such a prolific writer.”