His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke will visit the Shrine of St Augustine, Ramsgate, on Monday, 9 March 2015. The Cardinal will celebrate a Pontifical High Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, at 6.30pm, followed by the translation of relics which have returned following conservation work.
This will be the first visit of a Cardinal to the Shrine of St Augustine since its destruction during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1538, and possibly the first visit of a Cardinal to the shrine ever. It is particularly significant.
The shrine was reinstated in 2012 by Archbishop Peter Smith at the church of St Augustine's, Ramsgate. The original shrine was in St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury, which is now an English Heritage property. As St Augustine's body was mostly destroyed in 1538, the new shrine contains a small surviving relic of St Augustine brought back to England in the nineteenth century and generously donated by the Oxford Oratory.
At the end of the Mass, a procession will reinstate a 3rd-century skull in the Digby Chantry Chapel on the site. The skull and teeth are relics of St Benignus, brought to Ramsgate by the famous Victorian writer Kenelm Digby. St Benignus was a boy-martyr in the third century; the bones come from the Cemetery of Priscilla in Rome. The relics were originally placed in this chapel on 25th June 1859. Cardinal Burke was ordained in 1975 by Pope Paul VI, he was Bishop of La Crosse, Wisconsin (1994 - 2003), and Archbishop of St Louis, Missouri (2003 - 2008), when he was appointed Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura. In 2014 Cardinal Burke was appointed as Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.