The annual St Augustine Week festival in Ramsgate in underway now. Celebrating the first Archbishop of Canterbury, this year the Week follows the visit of relics of St Thomas Becket to Canterbury from Hungary.
St Augustine Week is a festival of free events in Ramsgate, based around the Shrine of St Augustine. There is a mixture of religious and secular events, focussed on the legacy of St Augustine. Most events take place at the Shrine of St Augustine, St Augustine's Road, Ramsgate, Kent, CT11 9PA.
St Thomas Becket was the 39th Successor of Augustine, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170. Some of his relics, which have been in Hungary for 800 years, are being brought to England between 23rd and 29th May.
The focal point of the Week in Ramsgate was the National Pilgrimage on Saturday 28th May. This began with a procession of the Relic of St Augustine from the church, and along the clifftop. This processional route overlooks Pegwell Bay, where St Augustine landed in 597AD. The procession re-entered the shrine church via the Holy Door for the Year of Mercy. This was followed by High Mass in the Extraordinary Form, celebrated by Fr Armand de Malleray FSSP, with music sung by The Victoria Consort. In the afternoon, many people attending the Pilgrimage went to Canterbury to take part in a service in Canterbury
Ramsgate will have its very own Blessing of the Sea on Bank Holiday Monday 30th May at 3pm. The Mayor of Ramsgate and people from across the
town will come to the King George IV Obelisk, where Fr Marcus Holden, Rector of St Augustine's, will lead some prayers, singing, and a procession to the beach. The service is particularly appropriate to Ramsgate both for its maritime and St Augustine connections. St Augustine landed his boat close to Ramsgate in AD 597, and several of the stories associated with him involve miracles at sea; Ramsgate has a long maritime past, especially relating to Operation Dynamo and sailing. All are welcome to this service.
On Monday 30th May at 7.30pm, there will be a Concert, with poems composed and read by Sister Mary Stephen OSB, of Minster Abbey. Sister Mary Stephen's poetry was featured in Sunday Worship on BBC Radio 4 when it was broadcast from St Augustine's in February this year. She has also recently published a collection of her poetry, entitled 'The Trouble About Not Writing Poetry, and other poems'. Tickets are priced £10 and are available on the door.
Fr Jerome Bertram CO, of the Oxford Oratory, will speak on 31st May at 7pm about his recently-completed translation of the medieval Life of St Augustine. This is the first time the complete Life, written by the famous hagiographer Goscelin of Canterbury in the eleventh century, has been translated into English. The translation has been commissioned by St Augustine's, and Fr Jerome Bertram is currently translating the associated accounts of St Augustine's Miracles and the account of his translation to a new shrine in 1091.
As part of the Ethelbert 1400 celebrations, marking the 1,400th anniversary of the death of King St Ethelbert of Kent, Dr Andrew Richardson, of the Canterbury Archaeological Society, will speak on 'Ethelbert's Kingdom: Kent After the Romans' on 1st June at 7.30pm. This talk will provide excellent context to this year's significant anniversary. In February, Bishop Athanasius Schneider celebrated Mass for the feast of King St Ethelbert at the shrine
On Saturday 4th June St Augustine's Cross, erected by Lord Granville in 1884, will be the destination for a procession. The Cross marks the traditional landing site of St Augustine, and in 1897 was the focus of both Anglican and Catholic celebrations of the 1,300th anniversary of St Augustine's landing. This year, the procession will begin at the Viking Ship at Pegwell Bay, on the modern coastline, at 3pm, and make its way to the Cross. At the end, Fr Tim Finigan, Parish Priest of Margate, will preach the annual Augustine Sermon. Afterwards, the nuns of Minster Abbey invite everyone to Minster for refreshments.