Pupils at Magdalen College School, Oxford, study Pope's World Youth Day message at retreat centre

Catholic boys from Magdalen College School, Oxford, spent three days of their half-term holidays studying the Pope’s message from the last World Youth Day (WYD).

Based at Alton Castle, the Catholic retreat centre in Staffordshire, they met for a series of talks and discussions on the WYD theme: “Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith.”

They prayed the rosary each day and spent time in prayer. On the way back to Oxford they were able to attend the weekly pilgrim Mass at the Birmingham Oratory, then to visit the shrine of Blessed John Henry Newman for prayers and a blessing with a relic of his.

This was particularly gratifying as several had been on the school trip to Cofton Park a year ago for Newman’s beatification.

The group also had a chance to see the exhibition on Newman and education. Other stops en route took in Baddesley Clinton and Coughton Court, two recusant houses with priest holes and plenty of Catholic history. All those who went on the trip are regular attendees of the school’s St Thomas More Society which caters for Catholic interests and meets weekly. Named after the school’s most famous old boy (however dubious this connection may be) the St Thomas More Society has been running at the school for 23 years.