At St George’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Southwark on Thursday 28 September at 6pm there will be a Solemn Ecumenical Vespers to mark the tenth anniversary of the shrine installed in honour of St Oscar Romero.
The preacher will be Dr John Hall, former Dean of Westminster Abbey where a statue of the saint is found above the west door.
Oscar Romero was Archbishop of San Salvador when martyred by government agents as he celebrated Mass.
The shrine is a huge 3-dimensional cross, designed in El Salvador by artist Fernando Llort. Inside a reliquary contains a fragment of the blood-stained alb that Archbishop Romero was wearing when murdered.
Some pilgrims like to start at St George’s Cathedral and visit St Thomas of Canterbury Church immediately after arriving at Canterbury cathedral so as to acknowledge both saints.
The Romero Way is a short route linking St George’s Cathedral (RC) to Southwark Cathedral (Anglican/CofE) which provides a start for the Pilgrims’ Way without losing the experience of walking down Borough High Street as pilgrims of old including Chaucer’s fictional characters.
Thursday’s vespers will be followed by a reception for the congregation in the Amigo Hall.
We had the warning in Winchester on a rainy St Swithun’s Day 15 July:
St Swithin’s Day, if it does rain/Full forty days, it will remain
So on St Bartholomew’s Day 24 August we hope to say:
All the tears St Swithun can cry /St Bartholomew dusty mantle wipes dry
You come across a St Bartholomew church after just half a mile on your first day out of Winchester. The church, ‘the active remnant of Hyde Abbey’, is holding an open day on Saturday 26 August 10am-4pm. This will also be the first day of the annual Community Dig to uncover more of the abbey buildings.
The other St Bartholomew church is at Otford where the Winchester and London Pilgrims’ Way routes meet. The church is usually open weekday mornings and on Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9am-12 noon the office can provide a stamp for your pilgrim passport.
A week after the Translation of St Thomas, with the focus on Canterbury, there is St Swithun’s Day on Saturday 15 July.
At Winchester Cathedral the boy choristers will sing the first evensong of St Swithun on Friday 14 July ay 5.30pm.
On Saturday, St Swithun’s Day, evensong will be sung at 4.30pm by the Winchester Cathedral Chamber Choir and attended by the Cathedral Friends. The service ends with a procession to St Swithun’s shrine site.
This year 2023 the Translation of St Thomas of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, falls on Friday 7 July.
The day is the anniversary of St Thomas Becket’s body being moved in 1220 from Canterbury Cathedral‘s crypt to the shrine upstairs in the rebuilt Trinity Chapel at the east end of the cathedral church.
Some pilgrims aim to arrive on this day as it is easier and warmer than the 29 December St Thomas Becket Day.
At 8am the Eucharist will be celebrated at the Altar of the Swordspoint in the Martyrdom, the site of the Archbishop’s murder in December 1170.
There will be another Eucharist (also Anglican) at 12.30pm in the Chapel of Our Lady Undercroft in the crypt.
The Roman Catholic Mass in the cathedral is at 7.30pm followed by light refreshments in the chapter house.
The main ecumenical service, attended by the Cathedral Friends, is Solemn Evensong sung by the lay clerks at 5.30pm followed by a procession to the site of the shrine.