BECKET 2020 OR 2023?

Compostela Holy Year 2021 logo

It is reported by the Confraternity of St James that Santiago Cathedral is asking Pope Francis to extend next year’s St James Holy Year into 2022.

This is prompted by a growing realisation in Galicia that a return to normal will be gradual with travel restricted for sometime after a phased return to work.

The Camino may still be ‘closed’ next spring.

Indeed Venice, for example, is already planning to severely limit tourists for some years after the virus is defeated.

So where does this leave our current Becket 2020 programme?

Even if Canterbury Cathedral reopens this summer there will be few able to be present for the Translation of St Thomas of Canterbury on 7 July. Planned lectures are unlikely to take place or may have to be online only.

Should we think about re-starting our Becket year when the UK has returned to normal? The very earliest date for that state of affairs appears to be summer 2021.

One possibility for a new Becket year free of difficulty is 2023 which will be the 850th anniversary of Thomas Becket’s canonisation.

The actual date was Ash Wednesday 21 February 1173.

In 2023 that day, 21 February, will be Shrove Tuesday. A Pancake Day with resonance, and during the half term holiday, could be the launch of another Becket year.

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