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The month of remembering

Published: 6th October 2023

Bishop JohnBishop John writes about 'remembering' in this article for November editions of parish magazines. 

In October, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham and I led an ecumenical pilgrimage of twenty Roman Catholics and twenty Anglicans to Canterbury. It’s our third pilgrimage – we’d already taken a group to the Holy Land and to Rome but decided to save the best until last!

Canterbury is a place full of memories – for me, since I grew up and was confirmed in the Cathedral there; for the Anglican Church, as the setting of our mother cathedral and also for the wider church and society, as the place of the martyrdom of Thomas Beckett in 1170. After his death, Canterbury very quickly grew into a place of pilgrimage from all over the Christian world: devotion to him as someone who stood up for the Church against the King was intense. His memory has been kept alive by that devotion ever since.

November is a month of remembering. We begin the month with the commemoration of All Saints, when we give thanks for all the saints who have gone before us and commend ourselves into their prayers. The following day is All Souls Day, when we give thanks and remember all the faithful departed in prayer, especially those dear to us. Then at Remembrance, we give thanks for all those whose sacrifice in the past has ensured our freedom in the present.

What was in my heart in Canterbury was a sense of thanksgiving.  That should be our predominate attitude in November – and always and everywhere: ‘it is good and right at all times to give you thanks and praise, heavenly Father, almighty and eternal God.’ We are a Eucharistic community – which means, literally, a ‘thanksgiving community.’ May it be so.

Page last updated: Friday 6th October 2023 4:27 PM

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