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: HUNDREDS TURN OUT FOR VISIT OF ROMAN CARDINAL

St Augustine’s was overflowing with people attending a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Burke on Monday 9th March. The church was full beyond capacity and many people had to stand in the cloisters.

The visit marks St Augustine’s increasing international reputation as a key site to visit in Britain. The visit of a cardinal from Rome – and such a prominent cardinal – is a great compliment and acknowledgement of the importance of this site and this building. The expanding of St Augustine’s audience is a very significant demonstration of the number of communities St Augustine’s is reaching.

The well-known American cardinal – an internationally-famous figure – praised the ‘nobility and beauty’ of England’s Christian culture on his visit to Augustus Pugin’s personal church in Ramsgate during the Mass.

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.

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.”

The Sovereign Military 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 and members of the parish choir, directed by Thomas Neal. The Victoria Consort are artists-in-residence at St Augustine’s and tour across Europe.

St Augustine’s is open every day between 10am and 4pm for visiting.

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.

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.

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 threat 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.”

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.

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.

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

 

Cardinal Burke to visit Ramsgate – Mass at St Augustine’s – 9th March, 6.30pm

His Eminence Cardinal Raymond Burke will visit St Augustine’s on 9th March. He will celebrate Mass at 6.30pm.

Rome-to-Ramsgate

Cardinal Burke resides in Rome and will be travelling to the Shrine of St Augustine which commemorates that other great Roman: St Augustine of Canterbury, Apostle of the English. The visit of the cardinal demonstrates the continuous link of the Catholic Church with the pope in Rome; St Augustine is known to have had strong relations with the pope who sent him to these shores, Pope Gregory the Great.

The Cardinal will celebrate a Votive Mass of St Augustine at the High Altar of the Shrine and preach. Mass will be sung by The Victoria Consort and will begin at 6.30pm.

Cardinal Burke

Many people are expected to come to see Cardinal Burke.
For navigation, the postcode of St Augustine’s is CT11 9PA

Free parking is available on Royal Esplanade.
Ramsgate railway station is approximately 1 mile from St Augustine’s. When you exit the station turn right on to Wilfred Road, go straight across at the traffic lights, and walk the full length of Grange Road. St Augustine’s is on the clifftop as you walk towards the sea.
Buses run to Grange Road roundabout from the station (The Loop), and buses 33, 34, 42, 87, and 88 run right past St Augustine’s.

Cardinal Burke is the Patron of the Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of Malta. He is Archbishop Emeritus of St Louis, Missouri (2004-8) and from 2008 until 2014 was Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura. He was elevated to the College of Cardinals on 20th November 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI. Cardinal Burke has been a prominent figure in many of the issues facing society and the Church, and he features in many headlines.

The word ‘cardinal’ comes from the Latin ‘cardinalis’ which means ‘pertaining to a hinge, principal, chief’ as it is a title given to people who are closest to the pope and upon whom much weight of the Church rests.

Ash Wednesday at St Augustine’s

Mass with Imposition of Ashes will be celebrated at the Shrine of St Augustine on Ash Wednesday, 18th February 2015, at the following times:

12 noon
6.30pm (Extraordinary Form)

Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent, which is a period of fasting before the feast of Easter. The ashes put on your forehead symbolise the penitential nature of the season; they remind us of our mortality and call us to repentance for the sins we commit. This is in preparation for the joy of Easter, which this year falls on 5th April.

Our New Choir – SCHOLA AUGUSTINI

St Augustine’s newest choir had its first outing on Sunday 25th January. The Schola Augustini is a voluntary choir dedicated to singing Gregorian chant, and especially to providing music for Vespers and Benediction once a month.

The Schola Augustini after their first Vespers and Benediction, 25th January 2015

The Schola Augustini after their first Vespers and Benediction, 25th January 2015

The liturgical and musical life of St Augustine’s are flourishing under Director of Music, Tom Neal, who directs The Victoria Consort (Artists-in-Residence) and the smaller Schola Cantorum as well as the Schola Augustini. The new Schola Augustini is made up of enthusiasts from Ramsgate, Thanet, Canterbury, and other places in east Kent.

Tom Neal ran a workshop on chant on Saturday 24th January, the day before the Vespers. Photographs and an account of the service are available on Fr Tim Finigan’s blog here.

Gregorian Chant is the traditional music of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, and was familiar to many famous composers. Famously it is named after Pope Gregory the Great, who sent St Augustine to England.

It is most appropriate to sing chant here. Not only was it brought here for the first time by St Augustine himself when he landed nearby, but Pugin was a great fan of this style of singing. He wrote fondly of how he had a band of people singing Gregorian chant in St Augustine’s, and how his family would join in too. This Schola Augustini is keeping a long tradition here.

The choir is voluntary, with singing commitments of the afternoon of the last Sunday of the month. If you wish to join, please contact Tom Neal at thomas.neal-at-cantab.net

St Augustine’s on TV – BBC South East Today

BBC South East Today focussed on the gift of Parliamentary tiles to St Augustine’s in its bulletins on 5th January 2015. The tiles were designed by Augustus Pugin and were recently lifted from the floors of the Palace of Westminster as part of a restoration programme.

Twenty four tiles have been donated to St Augustine’s, Ramsgate, reinforcing the historic link between Pugin’s own church and his most famous designs at Westminster.

Studio

Laura Sandys MP, who was instrumental in giving the tiles to Pugin’s own church in Ramsgate, said, “It’s an exciting day for Ramsgate, and it’s a very, very good day for Pugin and all who those love him.”

Tile close up

Catriona Blaker, of the Pugin Society, said, “They’re probably the most highly crafted and the very best tiles that Pugin would have designed … the very best for all those wonderful floors at the Houses of Parliament.”

Fr. Marcus Holden, Rector of St Augustine’s, said, “These tiles are a bond between Parliament and St Augustine’s.”

Pugin effigy close up

The tiles will be key artefacts in the new Education, Research, and Visitor Centre, to be constructed in the buildings on the site aided by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Centre will be an interpretive and educational space, and will also contain a library and archive for research and reference.

See the report here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-30682107

Funding is still being sought for the Centre. Please click here or e-mail us if you would like to support the project.

The BBC spent some time on an afternoon before Christmas filming at the site, shortly after the tiles were officially presented at the Parliamentary Reception in the Speaker’s House in Westminster.

Fr Marcus Laura Sandys MP

 

Epiphany Mass

Epiphany Mass

All are welcome to Mass of the Epiphany on 6th January, 6.30pm

Mass will be a Missa Cantata, sung by Artists-in-Residence, The Victoria Consort.

The celebrant will be Fr. Tim Finigan, Parish Priest of Margate.

The Epiphany celebrates the arrival of the Magi – often known as the Three Kings – to worship the infant Jesus. They famously brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

The music will be:

Introit: Ecce advenit
Kyrie & Gloria: Mass VIII (De angelis)
Gradual: Omnes de Saba venient
Alleluia: Vidimus stellam ejus
Credo III
Offertory: Reges Tharsis
Organ voluntary (Offertory): Ecce advenit (Colin Mawby)
Sanctus, Benedictus, & Agnus Dei: Missa O Rex gloriæ (Giovanni Pierluigi ‘da Palestrina’)
Communion: Vidimus stellam ejus
Organ voluntary (Communion): Prélude sur l’Introït de l’Épiphanie, Op.13 (Maurice Duruflé)
Organ voluntary (Final): Marche des Rois Mages (Théodore Dubois)