Mass at Shrine of Edward the Confessor in Westminster Abbey

 The ancient Shrine of Saint Edward the Confessor at Westminster Abbey was opened on Saturday for a special Catholic Mass to mark the feast day of the great English Saint. (The Shrine is normally closed to the public for safely reasons).

Members and friends of the Guild of Our Lady of Ransom, and the Keys writers group, attended the Mass which was celebrated by Monsignor Anthony Stark, Master of the Guild.

The group was welcomed by the Sub-Dean of the Abbey. During the Mass, Mgr Stark pointed out that he was wearing blue vestments and explained that St Edward had received permission from Rome to wear blue vestments on 'Blue Letter Days' - Marian feast days. After his death. blue was also worn on St Edward's feast day.

Following the Mass, there was the veneration of a Relic of St Edward, on loan from the Church of St Edwards in Sutton Park. Mgr Stark said the relic was a gift from Pope Leo XIII to a young Anglican man who required a special dispensation from the Vatican at that time, in order to marry the Catholic daughter of the Argentinian ambassador to England. Years later the family donated the relic to the church.

Today is the feast of St Edward the Confessor (See ICN Saint of the Day for more information). For centuries his Shrine at Westminster Abbey was one of the most popular destinations for pilgrims in London, along with the Shrine of Our Lady of Westminster and Our Lady of Willesden. It is one of the few shrines in England to have survived the Reformation and Oliver Cromwell.

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