We are standing on London Bridge and I am waving my arms about describing a Saxon-Viking battle that took place there about 60 years before the Norman Conquest. As we talk, there is a slowly emerging sense of convergence – of times and places, of “then” and “now”, the continuity of things. London’s place names, streets, rivers and churches all begin to make sense once you see it as a long, messy, river-bound and continuing story.
Leading Catholic history walks involves meeting many different groups: American visitors, schoolchildren, Catholics from parishes and other organisations and non-Catholic groups of family historians.
The venture began in 2010 as a way of celebrating our faith and our heritage. It has flourished from the days when I stood outside Westminster Cathedral handing out leaflets to today, when we have a smart website and wide contacts at home and abroad.
When you say “Catholic history” to most English Catholics, they will respond: “Oh yes… Thomas More”. They want to talk about their sense of connection with the English martyrs.
Naturally our history walks include this. We have a Thomas More Chelsea walk and the great annual Newgate-Tyburn martyrs walk. But there is so much more. The story of the Catholic Church in Britain is the story of Britain itself. We are not a group that emerged in the 1530s with Henry VIII’s marital troubles.
The Catholic Faith arrived when we were part of the Roman Empire – the same Empire into which Christ was born and through which the Christian faith spread.
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