Sunday, 29 May 2011

High Mass at Ramsgate

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Solemn High Mass in the stunning Church that was Pugin's own favourite: another experience of the most beautiful thing this side of heaven.

Marking the close of the St Augustine Week at Ramsgate, Fr Holden, the Parish Priest, arranged for High Mass to be celebrated in the Church of St Augustine, the church built by Augustus Welby Pugin as his ideal Church, constructed according to the "true principles of Christian architecture."

The week had included various lectures and a sermon on St Augustine (by Fr Nicholas Schofield) so I thought it best to draw out some spiritual themes for the sermon at the Mass. I focussed on time, Rome, and worship. St Augustine was only in England for seven or eight years, yet he converted the King and set Catholicism on a firm footing. If only we could use our time so effectively! He helped the English Church to consolidate a unity with Rome that was unbroken until the adulterous rebellion of Henry VIII. He also helped England towards a unity of worship, based on the Gregorian Mass which we celebrated.

A couple of months back, I was in Ramsgate and took a set of photos which you can see on Flickr. Here are just a few that may be of interest.

Augustus Welby Pugin was buried in the Church at Ramsgate. Here is his monument:

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The Church has some fine tiling:

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and stained glass windows:

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Here you see the aisle for the Blessed Sacrament chapel, with polychrome stations of the cross:

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When Pugin was on his travels in Paris, the Sainte Chapelle was still open to depradation after the revolution, rather than being the tourist attraction it now is. He actually took some stained glass from the chapel for Ramsgate:

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On my visit in March, I enjoyed lunch overlooking the harbour with three fine priests (left to right) Fr Holden, Parish Priest of Ramsgate and Minster, together with Fr Nicholas Schofield and Fr Richard Whinder who were sacred Ministers for Friday's Mass.

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St Augustine's Church in Ramsgate is in need of funds for repairs and restoration. With Fr Holden as Parish Priest, it is in safe hands. Please consider joining the Friends of St Augustine's Church.

As celebrant, it was not convenient for me to take photos. If anyone does have photos of the Mass, do publish them and send me a link, or send them to me for the blog.

(NB - that was an example of our silly English humour: I don't seriously think that celebrants should ever take photos during Mass.)
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