Welcome to the Newman!

Many congratulations and very well done to all of you who found out today that you’re coming up to Oxford in the autumn. The Newman Society is so excited to welcome you. 

We are one of Oxford’s oldest societies. Founded 144 years ago in 1878 by Hartwell de la Garde Grissell (Brasenose College) who worked hard to promote and represent the Catholic Faith at our ancient university. 

Over our long history we have sought to maintain our original aim — to promote the Catholic Faith at the University of Oxford. This has been done by our public witness but by providing a friendly community for the Catholic members of the university. Originally, we met at St. Aloysius Church (now the Oxford Oratory with whom we maintain a close relationship) but we moved in 1886 when the Catholic Chaplaincy was founded at the Old Palace on Rose Place. We still host the vast majority of our meetings there. 

As a large and rapidly growing society, we put on a full term-card each term with at least one event a week, often two or more. Normally, this involves:

  • Every Thursday a speaker gives a talk which is preceded by a free dinner. We then have adoration and compline, followed by some social time at the Newman Bar. Highlights from last year included: Lord Christopher Patten, Alexander Stafford MP, and Prof. John Finnis.
  • Once a term, we put on “Nightfever.” As part of this global movement, we organise an evening of adoration at Blackfriars as well as inviting members of the public to come and pray with us too, as part of our outreach as a society.
  • We enjoy the odd ceilidh around one per term. They’re a fantastic opportunity for the Society to have an evening of Caledonian fun and socialising. 

We also host a few special events a year, including three formal dinners. The highlight of our calendar is the St Thomas More Lecture. This involves a lecture given by someone of international Catholic eminence, a Mass, and a formal dinner. Keep an eye out for the announcement of this year’s Lecture very soon!

We shall also end the Society’s year this term with President’s Dinner. Hosted by our President, Aloysius Atkinson (St John’s), it will be a black-tie affair and no doubt a spectacular evening. 

We can’t wait to bring everyone back together at the Newman, both old and new. Highlights will include a Freshers’ cheese and wine evening, brunch and a walking tour of Catholic Oxford, and the return of CompSoc (a joint social with the Oxford Companions of the Order of Malta, where we combine prayer and socialising).

There is so much life and history related to the Catholic Faith in Oxford, including no fewer than fourteen saints and fifty-six beati who attended Oxford, and the Newman Society is very much the centre of it for students and members of the university.  

We would love to hear from you, so feel free to message our social media pages and we can answer any questions you may have. We’ll also be at the Freshers’ Fair, so do pop by to say hi!

We hope that the founding members of the Newman would be proud to see what it has become — a place of prayer, learning, and friendship not just for Catholic students, but also for those unfamiliar with the Faith. We can’t wait to welcome all of you into our community — so do come along!

St John Henry Newman, pray for us.

Our Lady of Oxford, pray for us. 

William Morris, Theology, St Benet’s Hall

Dates for your diary:

  • 2nd-8th October – freshers’ week. 
  • 13th October – First Thursday evening speaker of term. 
  • 23rd October -Annual Academic Mass.