St Augustine Week is well under way and Ramsgate is celebrating one of its most important historic figures.
On Sunday 25th a concert was held, sung with very high musical standards by Victoria Consort, and was enjoyed by all who attended.
On Monday 26th Bishop Athanasius Schneider from Kazakhstan celebrated Mass in the Extraordinary Form at the Shrine, and preached a sermon which inspired many. He was found to be a humble and holy man, who was very friendly to all. He seemed very interested to be toured around the site by the Rector, Fr Marcus Holden, before Mass.
The rest of the week has particular highlights, including a celebratory procession to St Augustine’s Cross, Ebbsfleet, from the Hugin Viking Ship; a tour of St Augustine’s stained glass; and a lecture on Pugin’s relationship to industrial production by Dr Jamie Jacobs.
All are welcome.
See the full programme here: St Augustine Week 2014 brochure
Following the announcement of Support from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a Pugin and St Augustine education, research and visitor centre at St Augustine’s church in Ramsgate, many have welcomed the news. Here are some of the messages St Augustine’s church in Ramsgate have received.
Catriona Blaker of the Pugin Society and Ramsgate resident said
“We are thrilled that St Augustine’s Education, Research and Visitor Centre Project is going ahead. If ever there was a church from which so many people could learn so much about so many fascinating subjects, encompassing religious beliefs, architecture, design, symbolism, and general history, this is the one.
The wonderful church of St Augustine, designed by the great architect Augustus Welby Pugin, famously known for his work at the Palace of Westminster, has in the past been somewhat of a sleeping beauty. Now, this project will make a huge number of people aware of its unique quality and significance and can only enhance the already steadily rising profile of the church.”
Laura Sandys MP for South Thanet said
“I am thrilled that St Augustine’s has won backing from the Heritage Lottery Fund and was delighted to support its application. This is excellent news for Ramsgate and testament to the hard work and efforts of the local community and volunteers. I would like to warmly congratulate all those involved.”
“The proposed Education, Research and Visitor Centre at St Augustine’s will provide educational facilities for schools in the area to learn about the world famous architect Pugin, and the historic landing of Augustine who brought Christianity to Southern England.
“Ramsgate has a very vibrant heritage and St Augustine’s plays a hugely important part in this. The visitor centre will facilitate our extraordinary history being enjoyed by people for years to come and will assist in attracting more visitors to the area.
“I am delighted to give the project my full backing and will be holding a Parliamentary reception in support of the project later this year.”
On behalf of the Pugin family, Robert Pugin Purcell, great great grandson of AWN Pugin said:
“On behalf of the Pugin family, I wish to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for the wonderful news that St Augustine’s application has been successful. The development of an education, research and visitor centre builds on the existing restoration work being undertaken in a unique Church. It also brings this Church, of such architectural significance, into community life and involvement – and is therefore a project which directly meets the vision Augustus Pugin had for Ramsgate and the Thanet region.”
Lord Cormack, President of the Parliamentary all-party Arts and Heritage Group said:
“Everyone who claims that there is genius in Pugin will be delighted by this news”
In spite of inclement weather, more visitors came to Pugin’s St Augustine’s church in Ramsgate than attended last year. The week of activity now in its third year included music, a play about the landing of St Augustine performed by children from St Ethelbert’s school, readings, lectures and tours culminating with a procession to St Augustine’s cross. The week’s activity concluded with a Mass at St Augustine’s on 27th May, the feast day of St Augustine of England, followed by a reception in the Grange’s Cartoon Room. The church, where its famous architect Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin is buried, was open every day during the week for visitors to enjoy.
Chairman of Friends of St Augustine’s and custodian of the church, Fr. Marcus Holden, were delighted that the week went well and that visitor numbers were up. “I am very pleased by the response we had last week and very glad that while we had many visitors from outside the town, there were many residents from Ramsgate who chose to come to visit the church and /or one of the events we organised during the week. I was also particularly pleased at the numbers of young people getting involved including a play by St Ethelbert’s primary school and by students from the Ursuline College who came to study some of the architecture and design of the church.”
In summing up the week, Fr. Marcus Holden said “It was a tremendous week when hundreds of people took part in a variety of ways. The story of St Augustine and work of Pugin were better appreciated by a wider audience than ever before”.