The eternal city of Rome was the destination for a recent school trip organised by the Religious Studies department.
13 students and five adults, led by departmental head Patrick Duffy, took part in the visit to the home of the Catholic Church, the oldest institution in the western world.
The undoubted high point of the week was the general audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican at which the Holy Father spoke on the theme of the importance of dialogue between different religions.
A tour of the Vatican museums followed, led by party member and religious art expert Siobhán Jolley, a former St. Mary’s pupil who is now a teacher at another leading Merseyside Catholic school.
This gave students the chance to learn more about the work of artists including Raphael and Michelangelo, and to visit the world-famous Sistine Chapel.
Other religious highlights of the trip included visits to two of Rome’s most-important churches, the papal basilicas of St. Maria Maggiore and St. Giovanni in Laterano.
Elsewhere during the week pupils were able to tick off the must-see sights of Imperial Rome including the Colosseum, the Pantheon and the Roman Forum.
And there was still time for a shopping trip which gave students the chance to acquaint themselves with the present-day Roman icons of Armani and Prada, and frequent opportunities to take on board plentiful supplies of pizza, pasta and Italian ice cream.
Patrick Duffy commented: “This was an extremely busy trip but a highly successful one, which gave our pupils a real insight into the past and present of this wonderful city.
“I’d like to thank my fellow party leaders for their efforts and, of course, our students. As ever they were excellent company and great ambassadors for the school.”