Pugin’s church of St Augustine in Ramsgate became a shrine in 2012. It is now the official place to honour the coming of Christianity from Rome to the Anglo-Saxon people with the mission of St Augustine.
In a stunning location overlooking the sea, the shrine is near to where St Augustine first landed in AD 597. Augustus Pugin moved to this place and built his own “ideal” church (and was buried there) precisely because “blessed Austen had landed nearby”. He called it “the cradle of Catholicism in England”.
Pugin desired a rebirth of Catholic culture in the place where it had been first conceived. When Archbishop Peter Smith inaugurated the new shrine he was filling a gap of 474 years since the last great shrine of St Augustine had been destroyed in Canterbury. This significant act has inspired thousands of pilgrims to visit ever since.
Shrines are powerhouses of the new evangelisation. At St Augustine’s, the majority of our visitors are not Catholic and yet they too enjoy the experience. Beauty reaches everyone. Heritage is a forgotten tool for sharing the faith in a gentle, non-intrusive manner.
At present we are welcoming more than 10,000 visitors each year and that number is increasing. The shrine celebrates liturgy to a very high standard in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms. Artists and historians are making important contributions. Last year we also launched with Explore Kent a signed walking route called “the Way of St Augustine”. It connects Canterbury to Ramsgate, following the route that the saint took after preaching to King Ethelbert.
More about St. Augustine of Canterbury from the shrine Pugin built:
St. Augustine of Canterbury, pray for us!
(Image credit: Wikipedia Commons, public domain).