A very joyful and jolly celebration took place in Ramsgate on Wednesday evening when Archbishop John Wilson arrived to celebrate Mass at St Augustine’s. Newsreader Alastair Stewart, an old boy of St Augustine’s School, joined local dignitaries including the Mayor Raushan Ara, Dannii Lancefield and Simon Marshal, headteachers of the Ursuline College and St Ethelbert’s schools and many local clergy including monks from the former monastery. The Archbishop preached on the need for evangelisation in the modern world in the mould of St Augustine. Afterwards the congregation queued for photos with Archbishop John, then repaired to the Cartoon Room in Pugin’s Grange for the reception.
St Augustine’s is world famous for being the “ideal church” of leading Victorian architect Augustus Pugin – most famous for designing Big Ben. It is attracting increasing numbers of visitors, including many from abroad, who are stunned by its beauty and charmed by the seaside delights of Ramsgate. A Shrine to St Augustine of Canterbury since 2012, it is also an increasingly important pilgrimage destination, both for those arriving by coach and those walking one of the pilgrimage trails such as the Augustine Camino and the Way of St Augustine.
After almost being sold off in 2011 – St Augustine’s has been transformed. A £340k Roof Renovation Project has just been completed, funded by the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales – ultimately from a Government Covid Recovery Grant – the Benefact Trust and Lottery Community Fund plus many individual donations.
The grade one listed building is open for visits every day except Tuesday and Sunday from 12.30 – 3.30pm and by request. All are welcome to this gem of a building which all residents of Thanet can be justly proud of.
If anyone would like to volunteer at St Augustine’s just get in touch at email@example.com