On a blustery 2 June twenty-seven pilgrim members visited Canterbury Cathedral and attended Mass in The Eastern Chapel of the Crypt; where St Thomas’s remains were originally kept before they were moved to the Trinity Chapel above in 1220 – eventually being destroyed by Henry VIII.
Father Richard Hearn, Dean of St George’s Cathedral, Southwark and Canon Anthony Charlton, parish priest in Canterbury celebrated the Mass. In his sermon, Father Richard repeated the words of the Gospel, “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” reminding us that St Thomas A’Becket had to choose between God and his king; ending in his murder in the Cathedral in 1170; and we too have to make similar choices in our lives.
Following a pleasant lunch at nearby Canterbury Lodge, we had a private tour of the Cathedral, which is dedicated to Christ. The present Cathedral was originally built in the Norman style, typified by rounded arches but having been damaged over the years by fire etc. Most of it is now in the Gothic style characterised by pointed arches, allowing for greater height to be attained. It is 512ft long making it one of the longest cathedrals and unusually, the choir is longer than the nave. It houses some stunning stained glass windows, one of which is the oldest known in the world. Originally a Benedictine foundation, housing, at its height, 150 monks, who lived and worked in beautiful cloisters surrounding the Cathedral.
It was a most interesting and spiritual day, enhanced by sharing it with friends.
For those who would like further information go to www.canterbury-cathedral.org.