St Augustine’s shrine in Ramsgate, Kent, has been given a £25,000 grant by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation.
The grant is for a proposed education and visitor centre at the shrine.
Fr Marcus Holden, rector at St Augustines, said: “This project is locally driven, but it is a project that has a national importance. The things you see here inspired the architecture of a nation – Parliament was inspired by Ramsgate. We are very grateful for the donation from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Fund and for Lord Lloyd Webber’s personal interest and support for our project.
“It takes us one step nearer towards the church’s restoration and the setting up of a centre for Pugin inside the church.”
The cost of the centre is likely to be £800,000. Over 400 people have donated to the project so far.
The church was officially declared a shrine of St Augustine in 2012.
The establishment of the new pilgrimage site had followed a 500-year gap created following the destruction of the last shrine of St Augustine of Canterbury in the 16th century, when it was demolished during the Reformation. A shrine to St Augustine, known as the “apostle to the English”, existed on the Isle of Thanet in the early Middle Ages, near where the saint arrived in the Kingdom of Kent in 597.
The church was designed by the eminent Catholic architect Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, who wrote in his letters that he had selected the Ramsgate site because “blessed Austin landed nearby”.
Cardinal Raymond Burke is to celebrate Mass at the church on the evening of Monday, March 9.