We are having an action packed pilgrimage!
After yesterday’s moving and powerful visit to Tyburn and other London churches we boarded the coach today for a trip to Canterbury.
We visited the delightful church of St Thomas of Canterbury and met the priest and venerated the relics of St Thomas a Becket and relics of Bl Oscar Romero. I had not connected the two, but both were assassinated in church because of their opposition to the temporal power. Both were friends of the poor and worked tirelessly for them. The church of El Salvador were given a relic of Thomas a Becket and they returned by giving the church in Canterbury relics of Bl Romero.
From there we went straight to Canterbury Cathedral where we very privileged to celebrate Mass in the Jesus Chapel in the crypt just a few yards from the site of St Thomas a Becket’s slaughter in 1170. On the way down I did a lecture on “The Three Toms”–Thomas a Becket, Thomas More and Thomas Stearns Eliot. After Mass we toured the cathedral, saw the site of Thomas a Becket’s shrine–destroyed by Henry VIII in 1538. The comparison between the first Tom and his clash with Henry II was too close for comfort for Henry VIII’s clash with the second Tom. Both More and a Becket were, of course, Lord Chancellors of England and friends with a King Henry.
We then viewed the chapter house of the cathedral where the first performance of Murder in the Cathedral took place. Grabbed a pub lunch with some real Kentish ale and the stopped at the church of St Dustan to venerate the place where St Thomas’ More’s head is buried.
Another busy and moving day exploring the Catholic history of England. More later, but tomorrow early we are headed to Ely and Walsingham.