Obviously both the Anglo-Catholic and Recusant traditions, to which the Ordinariates are joint heirs, owe their origins to England’s history and culture. This being the month of April (in which falls the feast of St. George, the country’s patron), it occurred to me that a guide to places of interest for Ordinariate members might be a useful service. Despite the past 500 years, England’s roots are deeply Catholic, and much of her surviving traditions and folklore retain evidence of their origins, no matter how much later generations have tried to Protestantise – and latterly to paganise – them. Thus – most often unknowingly – the devotees of “Merrie England” and such organisations as the Royal Society of St. George, the Folklore Society, the Association of British Counties, the Association of Commons Registration Authorities, This England magazine, the Richard III Society, the Manorial Society, the National Association of Civic Officers, High Sheriffs’ Association, National Association of City and Town Sheriffs, the Freemen of England and Wales and countless others, including the Monarchy itself, preserve various more or less desiccated elements of the country’s Catholic past. These are of far more interest than as mere historical elements, however; as Fr. Aidan Nichols, O.P. points out in his masterful work, The Realm, they may be used one day – if approached in the right spirit – as the foundation of a new evangelisation of the Mother Country. This must be of interest to all Ordinariate members and all Catholics in the Anglosphere – if ever accomplished, it would be difficult to calculate how much good would be done for souls!
At any rate, what I propose here is to give a guide during these days of April to pilgrimage sites – usually but not always religious – of interest to Ordinariate members and other Catholics, in England. Every day, we’ll present a different county with relevant links to places and institutions the Catholic traveller might enjoy. Let us begin with the cradle of Christianity in England.
Churches Conservation Trust, Kent Historic churches no longer in regular use
Canterbury Cathedral Scene of St. Thomas Becket’s martyrdom.
St. Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Church Canterbury. Relics of St. Thomas Becket.
St. Mildred’s Church, Canterbury The oldest within the walls and Anglo-Cathol.
St. Martin’s Church, Canterbury Oldest church in the Anglosphere
St. Dunstan’s Church, Canterbury Head of St. Thomas More enshrined.
St. Augustine’s Abbey Canterbury Ruined monastery founded by the Apostle of England.
Shrine of St. Augustine, Ramsgate Catholic church at former Ramsgate Abbey, designed by Pugin.
Minster Abbey, Ramsgate Community of Benedictine nuns who fled to Germany at the Dissolution, and later returned.
National Shrine of St. Jude, Faversham
St. Mary’s Chapel, Broadstairs
Rochester Cathedral, St. John’s Fisher’s seat
St. John Fisher Catholic Church, Rochester
St. Mary’s Church, Hadlow Over 1000 years old, self-describes as “liberal Anglo-Catholic.”
Aylesford Priory, Maidstone, Carmelite Friary lost at the Reformation and reacquired afterwards.
All Saints Church, Maidstone, Pre-Reformation Collegiate Church
St. Nicholas Church, Barfreston, Medieval jewel