Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation £25,000 Grant received, and Heritage Lottery Fund bid submitted

The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation has awarded Pugin’s Church of St Augustine, Ramsgate, a grant of £25,000 toward restoration work and plans to build an Education, Research and Visitor centre inside the church.

An event was held on 2nd March at which Chris Maton, from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, presented a plaque in recognition of the grant. They are the 16th grant giving organisation to support the restoration of St Augustine’s, and over 400 people have donated money privately to the project.

The event also marked the submission of St Augustine’s bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund in support of the project.

Approximately 100 people attended the event, including local schoolchildren, supporters, members of the Friends, as well as representatives of grant giving organisations. They heard speeches in support of the project from Clive Aslet (Editor-at-Large of Country Life), Robert Pugin Purcell (of the Pugin family), and Cllr Iris Johnston (Leader of Thanet District Council). The event was hosted by Fr Marcus Holden, Rector of St Augustine’s, which is the burial place of Augustus Pugin.

Fr Marcus Holden said “This project is locally driven, but it is a project that has a national importance. The things you see here inspired the architecture of a nation, Parliament was inspired by Ramsgate. We are very grateful for the donation from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Fund and for Lord Lloyd Webber’s personal interest and support for our project.

“It takes us one step nearer towards the church’s restoration and the setting up of a centre for Pugin inside the church.”

Robert Pugin Purcell said, “There is nowhere more suitable than Ramsgate for this project, and we hope that the Heritage Lottery Fund are able to support it.”

Cllr Iris Johnston said, “People will come from all over the world to see this amazing building,” and compared the project to the Turner Contemporary in Margate as a driver for the local area and centre of internationally-appreciated construction and art.

The site should become a World Heritage Site, said Clive Aslet, because of its importance. The site in Ramsgate is Pugin’s personal building where he exhibited, “A style, a passion, a religion, a community,” which continues to have direct influences across the English-speaking world.

The event took place the day after the 203rd anniversary of Augustus Pugin’s birth. The cost of the project to create the Education, Research, and Visitor Centre, and to restore the interior of the church to Pugin’s vision, is likely to be £800,000. The Heritage Lottery Fund are expected to make their decision on the bid public in June 2015, and funding continues to be sought.

For more photos of the event, please see our Facebook page.

CONCERT: Thames Chamber Choir offers spectacular programme – 21st March, 7.30pm

Thames Chamber Choir

The renowned Thames Chamber Choir will sing a concert in St Augustine’s, Ramsgate, on Saturday 21st March at 7.30pm.

Making their return by popular demand after last year’s impressive performance, the Thames Chamber Choir will be singing for one night only in Ramsgate. The centrepiece will be by the English composer William Byrd, with other pieces by Rachmaninoff, Tavener, and others.

Directed by Andrew Campling and Christian Spielmann, the Thames Chamber Choir is based in east London and performs across the British Isles. They sing concerts and for church services and have 20 members.

The centrepiece of Saturday’s concert will be the musical setting Mass in Four Parts by William Byrd (1540-1623), and other pieces include works by Chesnokov, Hawley, Lauridsen, Pärt, Rachmaninoff, Sisask, and Tavener. This represents a huge range of centuries and inspirations which is sure to produce an entertaining evening.

Tickets are £10, concessions £7.50. Tickets available on the door or in advance from 01843 850829.

Centre Manager, John Coverdale, said, “We are really looking forward to this concert, especially after the high standard of the Thames Chamber Choir’s visit last year. St Augustine’s is becoming a place for many groups to make music, and we very much enjoy welcoming the musicians who come to perform here and the people who come to listen and watch them.”

CARDINAL BURKE SPEAKS OUT IN DEFENCE OF ENGLISH CULTURE ON PILGRIMAGE TO ST AUGUSTINE’S SHRINE

Cardinal Raymond Burke, prominent American cardinal, has praised the ‘nobility and beauty’ of England’s Christian culture on a visit to Augustus Pugin’s personal church in Ramsgate, Kent. The visit took place on 9th March 2015. Pugin – famous for designing much of the Houses of Parliament – built his home and church at Ramsgate in the 1840s.

The cardinal highlighted the long history of English culture, and Anglophone cultures around the world, being shaped by Christianity brought by St Augustine of Canterbury who landed close to Ramsgate in AD 597.

Struck by Pugin’s architecture, Cardinal Burke said, “I cannot fail to note the example of the Catholic architect Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, architect of this beautiful church which is also the place of his burial. Augustus Pugin was attracted to the truth of the Catholic faith through its reflection in the beauty of the great Church architecture of the Middle Ages.”

Speaking of the ‘serious threat’ of ‘radical secularism’ that England faces, Cardinal Burke said, “[Pugin] sought to express and inspire by his architecture the nobility and beauty of a Christian culture during a time in which the Christian foundations of society were already under serious from the radical secularism of the thinking of the so-called Enlightenment.

“From historical accounts, we know how much Pope Saint Gregory the Great desired to bring the truth and love of Christ to the English nation [in the 6th century]. He had seen the English youth brought as slaves to Rome, and his heart was filled with compassion for them and for their fellow countrymen.

“Thus, he called upon the monks of the Roman Monastery of Saint Andrew, from which he had been called to the See of Peter and of which Saint Augustine was the Prior, to undertake the long and difficult journey to England and to preach the Gospel in a place totally unknown to them.”

Cardinal Burke was speaking at Mass celebrated in Pugin’s church, which was packed beyond capacity. Numerous people had to stand in the cloisters.

The Order of Malta, of which Cardinal Burke was made Patron last year, was in attendance. The Grand Prior of England, His Excellency Fra’ Ian Scott, was present along with eight other Knights and two Dames of the Order of Malta. Also in attendance was the Abbot of Farnborough, His Lordship Dom Cuthbert Brogan; the Prior and Superior of St Philip’s Priory, Chelmsford, the Very Reverend Fr Hugh Allan; and more than 20 other clergy.

Music was provided by The Victoria Consort, directed by Thomas Neal, who are artists-in-residence at St Augustine’s and tour across Europe.

Afterwards a 3rd-century skull was reinstated 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.

The ancient skull has been conserved by Michael Whitebread. The skull has been damaged in the past – possibly including at the moment of death – and has previously been repaired unsuitably. The previous material had absorbed moisture which had led to damage of the bone, so this has been replaced with modern safe materials. Previously the skull rested on its base which led to pressure on fragile parts of the skull; it now has a foam support on the inside of the skull so that the exterior of the relic can be seen and the skull has a more upright position.

Cardinal Burke’s visit marked the first pilgrimage by a cardinal to the recently-reinstated shrine of St Augustine at Pugin’s church. The original shrine, in Canterbury, was destroyed in 1538 by order of Thomas Cranmer and Henry VIII, but the status was accorded to St Augustine’s in 2012 by His Grace Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark, after 474 years of abeyance.

The visit was also the first known visit of a cardinal from Rome to Ramsgate. Although cardinals serving as archbishops in England and France have visited, this is the first time a cardinal serving in Rome is known to have travelled to Ramsgate.

The significance of a Roman cardinal visiting is large: just as St Augustine came to this site from Rome, so now a cardinal visits from Rome. There are numerous other parallels with the historical accounts of Augustine’s arrival: Augustine entered Canterbury singing psalms, and Monday’s Mass began with the same; Augustine preached in Thanet, as did the cardinal; Augustine celebrated Mass near the site, as did the cardinal. Thus the cardinal’s visit marked the continuation of the culture and religion that St Augustine brought to these islands over 1,400 years ago.

Augustus Pugin (1812-52) led the Gothic Revival with prodigious energy and output. His designs – of buildings, stonework, glasswork, metalwork, wallpaper, woodwork, encaustic tiles, and more – shaped cityscapes across the world. Although he died aged only 40, his legacy has embedded the idea of “pointed” architecture in the minds of millions of people.

The church in Ramsgate (the only one Pugin built without patrons’ funding) is his vision of a gothic building and therefore of immense importance. It has had £425,000 spent on urgent repairs in the last three years (largely funded by English Heritage). It has recently submitted a bid for £700,000 to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to create an Education, Research, and Visitor Centre. The result of the HLF bid will be made public in June.

St Augustine’s is open every day between 10am and 4pm for visiting. Mass is celebrated every day at 12 noon, with an additional Mass at 8.30am on Sundays.

Clive Aslet, Editor-at-Large of Country Life magazine, has recently called for the site to become a World Heritage Site. Also on the site is Pugin’s house (The Grange) and the presbytery Pugin built for the church (St Edward’s), both of which are now owned by the Landmark Trust. The Grange is available to let for holidays and is open to the public every Wednesday afternoon. St Edward’s is currently being restored. Across the road is a monastery complex built by Pugin’s son for Benedictines which, since 2014, has been run by Catholic priests of the Vincentian Congregation from India. This site encapsulates Pugin’s idea of a perfect medieval society, and is the only place where his vision – which inspired great architectural and social change in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries – was achieved.

Fr Marcus Holden, Rector of the Shrine, said, “We are deeply privileged that Cardinal Burke has made a journey to Ramsgate. It is a great honour to our volunteers and supporters, many of whom were here today, that such a man should come and greet us all here. His Eminence’s visit is also a very important event in the life of the shrine – a visit from Rome to honour Augustine, the Apostle of the English, who was in his turn sent from Rome.”

John Coverdale, Centre Manager at St Augustine’s, said, “There are so many stories to be told at this site, and the coming of St Augustine – the catalyst for our written English laws, English music, English art and culture, all tied up with our strong European and worldwide links – is a major story. It enhances our cultural awareness and participation and I hope many more people will come to learn about this important living history.”

More photographs are available on St Augustine’s Facebook page and on Juventutem London’s Flickr page.

Full Text of Cardinal Burke’s Sermon at the Shrine of St Augustine, 9th March 2015

VOTIVE MASS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE, BISHOP, APOSTLE OF ENGLAND

SHRINE OF SAINT AUGUSTINE

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH OF RAMSGATE AND MINSTER

RAMSGATE, ENGLAND

9 MARCH 2015

 

1 Thes 2, 2-9

Lk 10, 1-9

 

SERMON

 

Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen.

How great a blessing to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the Shrine of Saint Augustine, Apostle of England, so near to the place at which he, together with some forty other monks, arrived in the year 597 on a mission received from the Roman Pontiff, Pope Gregory the Great: the mission of the new evangelization of the British Isles. Here we witness directly the unfailing activity of the glorious Christ in His Church. Saint Augustine and his companions, not unlike the 72 disciples in the Gospel, were sent forth by the Vicar of Christ on earth to bring Christ alive in the Church to a faraway land. Venerating the tomb of Saint Augustine, we receive the grace of missionary zeal which is most fully and perfectly expressed in the offering of the Holy Mass.

From historical accounts, we know how much Pope Saint Gregory the Great desired to bring the truth and love of Christ to the English nation. He had seen the English youth brought as slaves to Rome, and his heart was filled with compassion for them and for their fellow countrymen. He felt in his heart, the sentiment of the Lord who exhorted the seventy-two disciples for the mission with these words:

The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. [1]

Thus, he called upon the monks of the Roman Monastery of Saint Andrew, from which he had been called to the See of Peter and of which Saint Augustine was the Prior, to undertake the long and difficult journey to England and to preach the Gospel in a place totally unknown to them.[2]

One can imagine that his instructions to Saint Augustine and the other monks were, in substance, the same as those of the Lord to the disciples:

Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you; heal the sick in it and say to them “The kingdom of God has come near to you.” [3]

Thanks be to God, Saint Augustine and his companions carried out the mission with total obedience. The integrity with which they carried out their priestly labors is well described in the words of Saint Paul in today’s Epistle:

For our appeal does not spring from error or uncleanness, nor is it made with guile; but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please men, but to please God who tests our hearts. [4]

They never doubted that their work was Christ’s, not their own. The measure of their ministry, therefore, was Christ alone, His truth and His love. Thus, their preaching of the Gospel and their ministration of the Sacraments has unceasingly borne fruit for centuries in the British Isles and far beyond.

Dom Prosper Guéranger, in his commentary on the feast of Saint Augustine, reflects upon the enduring fruits of their missionary labors with these words:

Thus the new race that then peopled the island received the faith, as the Britons had previously done from the hands of a Pope; and monks were their teachers in the science of salvation. The word of Augustine and his companions fructified in this privileged soil. It was some time of course before he could provide the whole nation with instruction; but neither Rome nor the Benedictines abandoned the work thus begun. The few remnants that were left of the ancient British Christianity joined the new converts; and England merited to be called, for long ages, the “Island of Saints.” [5]

One thinks, for example, of illustrious figures like the Venerable Bede and Saint Thomas Becket.

Contemplating the saints who were the illustrious fruit of the apostolic ministry of Saint Augustine and his companions, we recall also how many suffered, even to the shedding of their blood, to be true to the apostolic faith handed down to them in an unbroken line from the Apostles and, in particular, from Pope Saint Gregory the Great, heroic Successor of Saint Peter, and Saint Augustine of Canterbury, illustrious successor of the Apostles. In a most particular way, we recall the figures of Saint Thomas More and Saint John Fisher who held fast to the tradition of the faith received from the Vicar of Christ on earth, when so many betrayed and abandoned the apostolic faith. At his trial on July 1, 1535, Saint Thomas More held firmly to the living Tradition of the Church, which forbade him, in conscience, to acknowledge King Henry VIII with the title of Supreme Head of the Church. When, during the trial, the Chancellor rebuked him, citing the acceptance of the title by so many bishops and nobles of the land, Thomas More replied: “My lord, for one bishop of your opinion I have a hundred saints of mine; and for one parliament of yours, and God knows of what kind, I have all the General Councils for 1,000 years, ….”[6] The English Martyrs gave up their lives in martyrdom rather than giving up their greatest and lasting treasure, the life of Christ alive for us in His holy Church. Many others, both canonized saints and unknown heroes of the faith, selflessly and enduringly practiced the Catholic faith brought to the British Isles by Saint Augustine and his companions.

Surely, too, we are conscious of the great challenges in living the apostolic faith in our time. Truly, Satan, “a murderer from the beginning” and “the father of lies”[7], cannot stand the truth and love of Christ shining forth in His holy Church. He never takes repose from his deceitful and hateful labors. He is always trying to corrupt the truth, the beauty and the goodness which Christ never ceases to pour forth into our Christian souls from His glorious pierced Heart. The pervasive confusion and grave error about the most fundamental truths, the most beautiful realities, and the lasting goods of human life and its cradle, the human family, as they come to us from the hand of God, are the tragic signs of Satan’s presence in our midst. When we see how he has succeeded in corrupting a culture which was once Christian and in sowing the seeds of confusion and error even within the Church herself, we can easily become frightened and discouraged.

But, as Saint Augustine and his companions knew and preached, there is another presence which always conquers Satan. It is the presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in His holy Church and, most perfectly and fully of all, in the Most Blessed Sacrament: His Real Presence. Holding fast to Christ and to His truth and love, even in the face of persecution, the victory over sin, the victory of eternal life will surely be ours. Our Lord Himself, when he placed his Church upon the solid foundation of the Petrine Office, promised us that the forces of evil would not prevail against her.[8] The last chapter of the history of the Church is already written. It is the story of the victory of Christ, when he returns in glory to bring to consummation his saving work, to inaugurate “a new heaven and a new earth.”[9] The intervening chapters are ours to write, with Christ and as His faithful and generous disciples. They will certainly be the story of suffering for the truth and love of Christ, but they will also always be the story of divine grace at work in every Christian soul, filling it with joy and peace even in the face of great suffering and death itself. Let us not give way to fear or discouragement, but let us, with Saint Paul, rejoice to fill out in our time the sufferings of Christ for the glory of God and for the salvation of the world.[10]

Coming on pilgrimage to this shrine, I cannot fail to note the example of the Catholic architect Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, architect of this beautiful church which is also the place of his burial. Augustus Pugin was attracted to the truth of the Catholic faith through its reflection in the beauty of the great Church architecture of the Middle Ages. He, in turn, sought to express and inspire by his architecture the nobility and beauty of a Christian culture during a time in which the Christian foundations of society were already under serious threat from the radical secularism of the thinking of the so-called Enlightenment. Offering Holy Mass is this church which can rightly be called his, let us thank God for him and for the great treasure of the beauty of the faith which he has given to us.

Christ now makes sacramentally present His Sacrifice on Calvary. Christ now offers to us the great fruit of His Sacrifice, which He first offered to the Apostles at the Last Supper and which Saint Augustine brought to England in 597: the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ Who alone is the Savior of the world. As the glorious Christ descends to the altar of this great sanctuary, let us lift up our hearts to His glorious pierced Heart. As He offers up His life for us in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, let us, with Him, offer our lives as an oblation of love to God the Father for the salvation of all our brothers and sisters. With the Virgin Mary, Mary of the Annunciation venerated as Our Lady of Walsingham on this beloved island, let us be one in heart with the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus. In the Heart of Jesus our hearts will find the courage and strength to remain true to the apostolic faith for the glory of God and for the salvation of England and of all the world.

 

Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who trust in Thee, have mercy on us.

Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us.

Saint Joseph, Husband of Mary and Foster-Father of Jesus, pray for us.

Saint Gregory the Great, pray for us.

Saint Augustine, Apostle of England, pray for us.

 

 

Raymond Leo Cardinal BURKE

 

[1]Lk 10, 2.

[2] Cf. Prosper Guéranger, L’année liturgique, Le temps pascal, Tome III, 19ème éd. (Tours : Maison Alfred Mame et Fils, 1925), p. 571. [Hereafter, Guéranger]. English version: Prosper Guéranger, The Liturgical Year, Paschal Time, Book II, tr. Laurence Shepherd (Fitzwilliam, NH: Loreto Publications, 2000), p. 606. [Hereafter, GuérangerEng].

[3] Lk 10, 8-9.

[4]1 Thes 2, 3-4

[5] “Ainsi la nouvelle race qui peuplait cette île recevait à son tour la foi par les mains d’un pape : des moines étaient ses initiateurs à la doctrine du salut. La parole d’Augustin et de ses compagnons germa sur ce sol privilégié. Il lui fallut, sans doute, du temps pour étendre à l’île tout entière ; mais ni Rome, ni l’ordre monastique n’abandonnèrent l’œuvre commencée ; les débris de l’ancien christianisme breton finirent par s’unir aux nouvelles recrues, et l’Angleterre mérita d’être appelée longtemps l’île des saints.” Guéranger, p. 570. English translation: GuérangerEng, p. 605.

[6] Gerard B. Wegemer and Stephen W. Smith, eds. A Thomas More Source Book, Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2004, p. 354.

[7] Jn 8, 44.

[8] Cf. Mt 16, 18.

[9] Rev 21, 1. Cf. 2 Pet 3, 13.

[10] Cf. Col 1, 24-26.

CARDINAL BURKE and a CONCERT – this weekend in Ramsgate

This weekend is an exciting on at Pugin’s church of St Augustine, Ramsgate, with a concert on Saturday, and the visit of Cardinal Burke on Monday.

On Saturday, The Victoria Consort will perform “Mater Dolorosa: a sequence of words and music for Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows” at 7.30pm. The centrepiece will be a musical Mass setting by Padilla, composed in Mexico in the early seventeenth century. Refreshments will follow in the Cartoon Room next door. Tickets are £10, students/under 18s are free.

On Sunday, there will be a Missa Cantata at noon as usual, sung by The Victoria Consort.

On Monday, His Eminence Cardinal Burke will celebrate a Pontifical High Mass at St Augustine’s. Following in the steps of St Augustine, Cardinal Burke will celebrate Mass at 6.30pm. He will be one of the most important to visitors to St Augustine’s in its 165-year history. All are welcome.

dolorosa concert poster   Cardinal Burke