This week I received from Archbishop John Wilson the Decree designating and approving St Thomas of Canterbury Church as a Diocesan Shrine. I thought it would be important for you all to see and read the Decree:
“St Thomas Canterbury opened on 13 April 1875, holds the relic of St Thomas Becket. The relic consisting of a fragment of his vestment and two pieces of bone acquired from Gubbio in Umbria, Italy. Another relic was presented to the parish during a pilgrimage in 1953. Father Thomas Becquet made the presentation of the relic: a piece of the finger bone of St Thomas of Becket. The relic originated in the Cistercian monastery of Pontigny, where St Thomas stayed during his years of exile, and reached Chevotogne via the Bishop of Tournai. Consequently, St Thomas of Canterbury Church has been a pilgrimage Church, as well as a parish Church from its early beginnings. As early as 1889, The Guild of Our Lady of Ransom was organizing pilgrimages to Canterbury from London, which began with early Mass at St Ethelreda’s, Ely Place and then journeyed (with Devotions on the way) by special train on the London, Chatham and Dover Railway. These pilgrimages have continued with the Knights of St Columba organizing the “Penitential Mile” from St Dunstan’s to St Thomas and the Guild of Ransom organizing its pilgrimage on a day in July, among several individual and small group pilgrimages.
WHEREFORE, having carefully considered the law and the facts and having carefully studied the Statues of St Thomas of Canterbury Church, I hereby approve, by means of this Decree, its Statutes in accordance with the norms of canon 1231 §§1,2.
FURTHERMORE, for the good of souls, I, the undersigned Archbishop of Southwark, do hereby, by means of this Decree, designate and approve St Thomas of Canterbury Church as an Archdiocesan Shrine, in accordance with canon 1230. At this Shrine, the means of salvation are to be supplied more abundantly to the faithful by the diligent proclamation of the word of God, the suitable promotion of liturgical life especially through the celebration of the Eucharist and of penance, and the cultivation of approved forms of popular piety. (Canon 1234 §l of the 1983 Code of Canon Law).
Seeing that this Shrine has been so designated and approved, in virtue of the ordinary power granted me by law and in virtue of canon 1233, I do hereby grant a partial indulgence from temporal punishment to any member of the Christian faithful who visits the Shrine on the liturgical feast day of the Shrine.”
Signed by The most Reverent John Wilson Archbishop of Southwark and Monsignor Matthew Dickens, Chancellor & Vicar General.
Given on this sixteenth day November 2019 On the Feast of Saint Edmund of Abingdon, Archbishop of Canterbury