It has been a blessed week for us in the parish. Wednesday 7th July was the day we kept the Feast of the Translation of the body of Thomas Becket from the crypt to the new shrine in 1220. Our Archbishop John Wilson came to celebrate Mass with us in Canterbury Cathedral.
Before the Mass the Archbishop blessed our newly refurbished shop. He thanked all the volunteers who gathered in the All Saints Chapel, for their work and reminded them that the religious articles that we sell are a tangible expression of people’s faith and prayer. He also noted that theirs is an important ministry in the town. People come not only to buy but to talk. I would like give a special thank you to Richard Carracio for overseeing the project and to Pat Moore, our shop manager and her team for the sterling work they did make everything ready for this day. This is a facility that the parish can rightly be proud of.
Our celebration of Mass in the Cathedral was a wonderful celebration. Canon Richard Hearn, the Dean of our own Cathedral of St George had brought with him a relic they have of St Thomas of Canterbury housed in a very splendid reliquary designed by Augustus Pugin. Ben Saul gathered together a group of professional singers that sang beautifully and Ben Scott played the organ. We provided our own group of dedicated servers and readers. Thank you to you all for enabling this to be a joyous and dignified occasion.
In his homily the Archbishop explored our understanding of the word translation. He said:
“In its original meaning it is “the carrying over of the something, the bringing over of someone. The man, Thomas Beckett, who once spoke the language of wealth now spoke the language of faith. This was a change, a movement. Each of us needs an ongoing translation in our relationship of discipleship so as to be carried over more clearly into the life of the kingdom. To learn even more fluently the language of love which comes from a personal relationship with Christ. The Lord Jesus sent out ambassadors ahead of his own ministry. Their message, their language was peace, fellowship and healing, in essence the very proclamation of the kingdom. The disciples were evangelists just as we because of our baptism are evangelists. Like the seventy two, like St Paul, we are sent out to speak the language of God’s love. We are carried over from old ways to new life.”
The archbishop said:
“St Thomas spoke out and stood up to be counted, to protect the concerns of the Church, of the gospel. We must do the same but always with the language of loving compassion. Our voice must be raised not least for the voiceless, in defence of human life, of justice and dignity for every person, of support for families and those suffering, and in favour of refugees torn from their homeland. We must hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. We must take action and respond. We cannot be indifferent to what faith teaches and asks, always desiring Christ’s peace to flow from us and to rest on others.”
You can still watch the Mass on YouTube below.