Anselm Study Circle — New Group

  • This new study circle /Group gathers to discuss and debate all theological and philosophical issues. Its purpose is to nurture a greater understanding and appreciation of difficult concepts and terminology; learning of emerging ideas and sentiments of the theology, philosophy, and Christian faith and the application of its rules to the contemporary world.
  • This is an open and free discussion forum, and not doctrinal; all in a relaxed setting.
  • The suggested format is to discuss selected articles published in theological or philosophical scholarly journals in particular Communio or Concilium.
  • We link this group with St Anselm, our Canterbury Doctor of the church and one of the prominent medieval theologian.
  • The meeting will be of special appeal to those with interest in Theology, philosophy and the study of religious faith, practice, and experience. It is especially suited for academic staff, teachers, research associates, undergraduate and graduate students and interested laypersons who wish to discuss theological and philosophical topics in some depth.
  • We suggest meeting once every two months (6 times per years) for 1.5 to two hours.
  • The suggestion for the first meeting is on Monday 2nd October 2017 at 7:00 PM in the Upper Room at  St Thomas of Canterbury RC Church. We will discuss our modus operandi and how to run this group at the first meeting.
  • If you are interested, please email Prof Ghazwan Butrous expressing your interest in attending, and your special interest in the subject.

Mass of the Translation of St Thomas of Canterbury At Canterbury Cathedral 7 July 2017

Mass of the Translation  of St Thomas of Canterbury At Canterbury Cathedral 7 July 2017


The sermon of Fr Robert McCulloch, Procurator-General; Missionary Society of St Columban; On the occasion of the Mass celebrated in Canterbury Cathedral for the feast of the Translation of the Relics of St. Thomas Becket, 7 July 2017

Know this, that although the world rages, the enemy rises, the body quivers, and the flesh is weak, I shall, God willing, never give in shamefully or commit the offense of abandoning the flock that is entrusted to me.” St Thomas Becket said this in the first week of October 1164 at a council called by King Henry II at Northampton during which those issues of principle became clarified for Becket and from which he determined not to withdraw and not to compromise.

Blessed Oscar Romero

We may recall the words of the Collect Prayer of this evening’s Mass when we prayed to God “who gave the martyr Saint Thomas Becket the courage to give up his life for the sake of justice”.  These words lead us to recall the parallel between St Thomas Becket and Blessed Oscar Romero. Both martyrs. Martyrs for that justice which is the right ordering of human decisions and actions and choices according to the will of God. The fear of dire and dreadful and death-dealing consequences could not overcome their stubbornness in preferring to affirm God’s justice rather than succumb to the standards of justice proposed by the contemporary political authority of their time and country. In the case of Becket, King Henry II was the political authority who accepted no limits and who wished to make the church merely his holy servant. In the case of Romero, the political authority of El Salvador legislated for all but ruled solely for its own vested benefit and interest. Becket’s and Romero’s stubbornness were perceived as foolishness because they threw away the opportunity to share in power. They chose not to share flawed power exercised by flawed political structures according to flawed standards of justice. The contrary foolishness indecision that these two martyrs chose is that about which St. Paul speaks and which surges in the heart and mind and will to enable conscience to say what must be done. The enduring firmness of this cathedral tonight enables us to look about not merely with bodily eyes, but with eyes of memory and embrace the stream of Christian witnesses and martyrs who speak to us from history and affirm the primacy of conscience as we stand before God and man. Not for nothing did Cardinal Newman remark “to the Pope indeed, but to conscience first”. St Peter and the martyrs of the early church, Becket almost 800 years ago, Romero just four decades ago. On several occasions in recent weeks, most recently being 29 June on the feast of St. Peter and St Paul, Pope Francis has highlighted the witness we now in these days, receive from our Christian brothers and sisters who are being persecuted in many places and countries because of their steadfast commitment to the faith which they hold as the anchor for their living. Pope Francis has noted that 80% of all people in the world who are suffering religious persecution today in our day are Christians.

Being on the threshold of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation enables us to hear those clarion and challenging words “Here I stand, I can go no further” with wider historical insight and ecumenical humility as a restatement of what it is that has enabled and still enables the martyrs to shed their blood rather than shed their principles. We remember the 47 young Anglican and Roman Catholic Ugandan martyrs of the late 19th century who suffered brutality and were cast into the fires. Their bodies were broken, their lives were burnt away because they chose God’s justice instead of the perverse ways of King Mwanga II. The memory of that political power in Uganda who ordered their death has been eroded by the memory of his victims whose witness of faith and moral principle rises before us each year on their feast day. Our enriched historical knowledge enables us to rise above the huge divides which separated Latimer and Ridley from Roman Catholics and Campion from the Reformation so that we perceive and understand that it was for principle and conscience that they would not turn from being killed.

What we are celebrating tonight took place on 7 July 1220. The occasion of this evening when we commemorate the Translation of the Relics of St. Thomas Becket from the undercroft to the Trinity Chapel in the upper Cathedral, but also the setting of this cathedral where he was martyred, where he was venerated by Christian pilgrims for 300 years, and where his presence and memory continues to be recalled by pilgrims in worship and prayer and by visitors in their own way, alert us. We are alerted to remember and celebrate not only Becket but also the long enduring and continuing testimony of our martyrs to principles which flow from faith and which are carved into conscience and from which there can be no turning.

In and of our present day and about numerous countries, well may we ask whether faith can be conformed to a political party’s manifesto which has been cobbled together to save a majority rather than to serve the common good, whether principle remains intact if it can be changed by a caucus vote, whether conscience can retain its integrity if it must be contorted to embrace certain party platform planks which are touted as the means to electoral salvation but which are more often and mostly white-anted by ambition. “Here I stand, I can go further”. “… The King’s best friend, but God’s first”. “Will no-one rid me of this troublesome priest”.

The shrine of Becket has gone, his bones are mostly scattered, but he lives in devotion and historical memory.  It is most likely that the great 13th century Catholic theologian St. Thomas Aquinas was named not after the apostle of Our Lord but after the martyr of Canterbury. Aquinas was born in 1225. His father’s lands included the town of Segni between Rome and Naples and it was in Segni that Pope Alexander III canonised Thomas Becket in 1173.

Becket is a saint from that time in history when we were one in faith. Today at this Mass and earlier at Evensong we, Roman Catholics and Anglicans, have celebrated the enduring memory of Becket. He is a witness of fidelity overcoming fear, of constancy in great tribulation, of trust in God when confronted with wild hatred. Becket speaks to us about friendships lost, about having to put up with whisper campaigns and in-the-face opposition, about making mistakes because of uncertainty, about wanting to live a pure and chaste life, about choosing between having it all and holding to principles, about wanting to be united to God, about doing what conscience says is right, about not being trapped by political correctness, about being both full of fear and courageous just as he was in the last when he fell under swords that came from the king.

Dean Robert Willis
Pope St Gregory the Great

We acknowledge tonight the ecumenical hospitality and kindness of Dean Robert Willis. He has opened to us this evening not only the doors of this great cathedral but also the heart of the Anglican Church.  On this day just two years ago in 2015, a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church celebrated Mass at the High Altar of the cathedral, the first to do so since Cardinal Reginald Pole. It happened because of the great generosity of Archbishop Welby and the “all things can be done” working of Dean Willis. Pope St. Gregory the Great sent St Augustine to do great things for God in England. Dean Willis has done great things for God by drawing the hearts of Anglicans and Roman Catholics closer to each other. Cardinal Newman’s motto was cor ad cor loquitur: heart speaks to heart. Greatly and in many ways Dean Willis has enabled our hearts to speak to one another as they do tonight. I should like to present to him a gift from Rome as a reminder that, as Augustine being sent by St Gregory did great things for God, so Dean Robert has done great things in the sight of God so that we may be one again. The gift to seal our thanks is a relic of Pope St Gregory the Great.

Honouring the Very Reverend Robert Willis, Dean of Canterbury with relic of St Gregory the Great


When we met on 7th December 2016 you raised things that needed doing in our Parish Community. We want to make a start on doing them and are asking for people to lead and take part in projects that will:
1. Do a Feasibility Study on Making the Most of Our Assets
2. Make Major Changes to the Narthex at the Back of our Church
3. Establish our Parish Fairs
4. Find out how we can forge closer links with our Schools, Colleges & Universities as well as setting up:
A Parish Council
A Fundraising Committee
A Social Committee
Everyone can do something to help – it can be a little bit of time for a long while or a lot of time for a short while or anything else in between. We will need funds. We will need prayers.

What Can You Do?  Please fill the Volunteer Form and post it to the parish

or fill the form below and send from this page.
PROJECTS website2

Please fill this form to Volunteer for any PROJECTS




St Thomas of Canterbury’s Clergy Support Fund Campaign


Welcome to the web pages of St Thomas of Canterbury’s Clergy Support Fund Campaign (CSFC).

Supporting the retired and sick priests of our diocese


What’s this about?

The Diocese maintains a duty of care towards its priests and has always provided for sick and retired clergy. For example, in the past, retired priests were often cared for by religious orders in return for chaplaincy services, the number of such orders in this part of the world has now declined to the extent that this form of arrangement is now rarely available. You may know that your priest will normally retire from full-time parish ministry when he reaches 75 years of age, however, many continue to work in some form of ministry.

Check here the slide presentation

When a priest resigns from his parish ministry or a full time ecclesiastical appointment, the Diocesan Finance Office establishes his likely income and needs on an individual basis and ensures he has sufficient financial resources to afford the necessities of life, live in properly heated and adequately maintained accommodation and can pay for some limited recreation and travel.

How many priests are involved?

There are currently 69 retired priests in our Diocese and this number is expected to increase to around 93 by 2018. The costs of supporting them are currently met by the Diocese, partly through an annual contribution from each parish, but the increase in numbers will create more pressure on these costs (the table below shows summary estimates).

Archbishop Peter Smith has therefore identified the need to ensure the continued support of sick and retired priests as a major priority for our Diocese. Led by the laity, this deeply human campaign has been unfolding over the last 12 months and will continue to raise funds over the coming three years.

Summary of costs, income and shortfall over five years

Estimates/Shortfall 2014 2018
Estimated number of retired priests 70 93
Estimated income 495,000 495,000
Estimated expenditure 1,297,000 1,477,000
Shortfall 802,000 982,000
Cumulative shortfall over 5 years 4,505,000

 What is the latest position?

The generous support of parish teams in Southwark has helped the Clergy Support Fund Campaign reach £2,000,000 in funds raised and pledged across the Diocese, with the exact figure standing at £2,020,302.

A significant number of parishes are undertaking various phases of the Campaign in the next two months and it is hoped that, with sustained effort, we may be able to reach the half-way mark of £2,252,500 before breaking for the Summer holidays in mid-July.

Just over half of the 180 parishes in Southwark have delivered their Formal Presentations and the completion of all four phases in each parish will help us to reach our overall target of £4,505,000 in due course.

St Thomas of Canterbury Parish CSCF Contacts:  via the Parish Office email:

The following parishioners have been involved in the initial fundraising for the CSCF but everyone is welcome to participate with ideas and contributions of continuing to fund raise for this very important cause.

Chris Bull                    Tessa Metcalfe                       Tony Loughran

Tony Welch                Michael Roberts                     Catherine Grogan

If you have any queries please do not to hesitate to ask your CSFG representative.

Thank you.

Pilgrimage to Rome by the Confirmation Candidates of St. Thomas Parish, Canterbury


A group of 120 people from St. Thomas’s Catholic Church, Canterbury was recently led on a pilgrimage to Rome by Fr. Valentine Erhahon. The objective was to enable a group of young people currently preparing for Confirmation and those having been confirmed in the last five years now on the Young Mentors Award Programme for Confirmation to meet our Holy Father Pope Francis to present two gifts to him and also experience living in a seminary so as to encourage vocations to the Priesthood and to the religious life and be inspired by this Holy Year of Mercy. 57 families accompanied their young members on the journey to Rome.

The core of the Pilgrimage was from 5th-7th April and included attending the General Audience with Pope Francis, a private Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica and going through the Holy Door of Mercy. In addition, after a Football Match between the Parish Team and the Seminary Team, a formal dinner was organised with exchange of gifts with the seminary Rector, Staff and seminarians of the Pontifical International College Mary Mother of the Church.

In preparation for the Pilgrimage, Fr Valentine created two gifts for the Holy Father, a painting and a drawing book of letters written by the parish children. The painting depicts the Pope watering a garden made up of the signatures of many people including 300 children and young people, individuals from the parish, seminarians, priests, Muslims and non-Catholics. From the signatures grows the Canterbury Parish Family Mercy Tree, producing the 14 corporal and spiritual works of mercy shown as fruits of the tree.  On the painting, there is a poem that recounts our salvation history and mission. The artist, Mrs. Charlotte Galt, painted the painting for the Holy Father. In addition Mrs. Nieves Castro organised over 70 children and young people to make drawings and letters for the Pope in anticipation of his birthday later this year.

Attending the General Audience on Wednesday, the group was seated in St. Peter’s Square.  Clever positioning meant that many people came very close to the Pope during his perambulation in the Pope-Mobile. During his ride, the Holy Father stopped to bless the Icon of St. Thomas of Canterbury. This Icon blessed by Pope Francis is now housed at the Martyrs chapel in St. Thomas’s Church.

Father Valentine, representing the group from Canterbury met the Holy Father for a private audience were he was able to present the painting and the book personally to Pope Francis and told him about what the painting and book was all about.

The Holy Father was greatly interested in the gifts presented to him and spent time reading the poem and observing the painting and drawings. He asked Fr. Valentine to send his warmest thanks to all those who signed the painting and to all the children who made special drawings for him. Later that evening, the Pilgrims challenged the Seminarians to a football match. The Canterbury side captained by Joe Murphy, who scored the team’s only goal, suffered a catastrophic defeat against a polished and coherent seminary side. However there was plenty of amusement in the game and all took it in good part. During the ensuing formal dinner, Joe handed the trophy over to the Captain of the Seminary Team. At the dinner, the Seminary Rector Fr. Oscar Turrión, presented special gifts for the year of mercy to all the young people and memorabilia to all the families on the pilgrimage. The young people preparing to receive confirmation on Pentecost Sunday this year presented the seminary community with an Icon of St. Thomas of Canterbury and the leader of the Young mentors programme, Robert Emejuru lead the speeches to give thanks to the seminary community and to all 098207_06042016the pilgrims for their prayers and support.

It was not serious for the whole time. The pilgrimage also contained a measure of fun. The 120 members from Canterbury stayed in guest accommodation at the Seminary and were able to enjoy each other’s company in the spacious grounds, at prayers and at mealtimes. The group rose early for morning prayers at 6am. They were able to enjoy beautiful walks around the grounds. It was a time for families to pray and play with their children and for them to make new friends. The pilgrims also had time to go in little groups to the Opera, visit the Colosseum and many other beautiful sights around Rome.

It was a very happy and joyous occasion for the parish community in Canterbury and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.

Later in July, Canon Anthony Charlton will lead a group of young people from St. Thomas’s Canterbury to the World youth Day in Poland to meet with the Holy Father.

Press Release by Helen NATTRASS