PUPILS took part in a 100,000-strong event to canonise their school’s patron.

Ten children from Cardinal Newman Catholic School in Hove headed to the Vatican in Rome to witness history in the making.

On October 13, educator and theologian John Henry Newman became the first Briton to be made a saint in 43 years.

The pupils travelled to an open-air Mass in St Peter’s Square with school headmaster Dr James Kilmartin to take part in the momentous occasion.

Dr Kilmartin said: “It was great to see our patron recognised in such a fantastic way.

“There were 60,000 chairs but there were 100,000 people in the piazza.

“It gives you a sense of the global worldwide church – what came over was how influential Newman is.

“It was beautiful, not least because of the beautiful surroundings of the Vatican, St Peter’s Church and basilica.

“The whole experience of being part of that international church was a very important one.

“We are an ethnically diverse school with students speaking 30 languages other than English.

“We took an ethnically diverse group of students and it was great to see that reflected in the wider picture. It was an absolute pleasure.”

The school in The Upper Drive was invited to attend the historic event at the request of Brighton and Arundel’s Bishop Richard Moth.

The ten pupils of different ages – five boys and five girls – enjoyed a weekend of activities which culminated in the canonisation in St Peter’s Square. They included Year 9 student Rocco Di Rienzo and Year 8 student Annmary Antony.

Dr Kilmartin said the group had a wonderful time with “a few gelatos along the way”.

To become a saint, two miracles need to be attributed to the candidate.

John Henry Newman is credited with the “inexplicable” healing of a woman with a life-threatening pregnancy and the healing of a Massachusetts deacon’s spinal cord disorder.

Dr Kilmartin said: “We use Newman’s ideas on a daily basis – the idea of being a link in a chain and having your own special work to do in the world.

“This has amplified Newman’s reputation and we’ve had a lot of local interest from people, even from those who are not religious.”

The headteacher said he was still keen to hear from anyone who attended the convent school of the Sacred Heart.

The convent was on the site of the school before it was named Cardinal Newman.

This is ahead of a key anniversary next year.