Ramsgate has been selected as one of the special sites in the world to have a Holy Door for the Year of Mercy.
A Holy Door is a special door that acts as a physical focus during a time decreed by the Pope. It is in emulation of the Holy Door at St Peter’s in Rome.
St Augustine’s has been chosen to have a Holy Door because it is a shrine in the Archdiocese of Southwark, and the honour has been granted by Archbishop Peter Smith.
The church was given shrine status in 2012, and a great deal has been achieved since then to restore the building. In mid-2015 the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a substantial grant to enable an £800,000 project to go ahead, creating an Education, Research, and Visitor Centre as well as further significant restorations.
The church is the personal church and resting place of the famous architect Augustus Welby Pugin, who designed much of the Houses of Parliament, including the tower known as ‘Big Ben’.
Ramsgate’s Holy Door is located at the south porch of St Augustine’s, facing the graveyard and the sea. It is a specially-constructed temporary wooden door that will eventually be replaced by iron gates as part of the restoration process.
At St Augustine’s there will be a special ‘Way of Mercy’ leading from the street into the churchyard, which will prepare people to go through the Holy Door.