Inside the Vatican Pilgrimage In the Footsteps of Saint Thomas More & Blessed John Henry Newman August 2 – 13, 2016 Oxford and London
A Personal Invitation from Dr. Robert Moynihan:
Once again we set out on pilgrimage, this time to a land many of us will feel comfortable in: Merrie England.
After we have passed three or four days preparing ourselves intellectually and spiritually, we will be ready to set forth on our pilgrimage, first up to the city of London, and then, to Canterbury, where St. Augustine landed, when he brought the faith to England at the time of Pope Gregory the Great.
“The man who is tired of London is tired of life,” said the great writer Samuel Johnson in the late 1700s, at the time when the United States was being formed, breaking away from English rule. We will be staying in London, in comfortable lodgings, and from there we will visit the key sites we must visit, contemplate, and remember: the great cathedrals, Westminster and St. Paul’s, Parliament, the British Museum, the Tower of London, where St. Thomas More was imprisoned before he was beheaded, “The king’s good servant, but God’s first.” And we will have time, on our first evening, to visit the Globe Theater and attend a production of one of Shakespeare’s greatest and most troubling plays, Macbeth: the story of a king who was led into disaster by the counsels of his queen. A story full of resonance in a time when a great king had broken with Rome on account of a woman, and loyal Catholics had, a generation later, been tempted to commit regicide themselves in order to remedy that wrong.
We will celebrate Holy Mass each day, and take some time for quiet and rest. We will not rush from place to place so that you become exhausted. It will be a pilgrimage, but a pilgrimage filled with time to reflect and more deeply understand our faith. We will have booklets with us containing all of the readings for the daily liturgies, as well as passages from some of the great British saints and theologians to read and meditate on.
Finally, as our journey nears its end, we will take the famous road that Chaucer’s pilgrims took in his Canterbury Tales — down to the very end of England, where the faith was first brought to this island people, 15 centuries ago.
This journey will bring our pilgrimage to its conclusion, as we look out over the waves of the English Channel which separate us from France.
A journey in the footsteps of saints, a journey of study, meditation, reflection, but also a journey of immersion in British culture, the life of England in past centuries, and today. You will come to understand England, and the story of the faith in England, in a profound way that will never leave you. You will be imbued with the spiritual wisdom of Thomas More, John Fisher, Edmund Campion, and John Henry Newman, and you will bring home with you that peace which those souls brought into the world in their struggles, triumphs, and witness.
The entire journey has been carefully structured so that each day builds on the day before. Step by step, your faith will be deepened. So please accept my heartfelt “Welcome” as you begin this journey with us, from Oxford to Canterbury and many places in between, in the footsteps of St. Thomas More and of Blessed John Henry Newman.
I hope to greet you soon in Merrie England, along the banks of the River Thames.
– Robert Moynihan
Founder and Editor of Inside the Vatican magazine