On Sunday 24th March, parishioners from St Thomas of Canterbury and the English Martyrs Church gathered to celebrate one hundred years since its opening in the town of Royston, Hertfordshire. The foundation for the church was laid on the A10 London to Cambridge Road in 1916 where it is still located, with the church officially opening in 1919.
The centenary celebrations began with Mass presided by Cardinal Vincent and assisted by Parish Priest Fr Philip Knights and other clergy with past associations to the parish. Also in attendance were the Sisters of Providence from the nearby convent, and local dignitaries including Sir Oliver Heald MP and Mayor Cllr Iain Leggett, local town and county councillors and parishioners.
An icon of the Annunciation of the Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary, acquired on Fr Philip’s recent trip to Rome was blessed by the Cardinal, and is displayed in the church to commemorate the event.
After Mass, attendees gathered in the parish hall where photographs, local historical information, and artwork, prayers and cards created by children from the St Mary’s Catholic Primary School were displayed. After a celebratory drink and a bring-and-share lunch provided by parishioners, the Centenary Grand Draw took place.
The event was a memorable and uplifting tribute to the Catholic community in Royston spanning many generations who have worshipped at St Thomas of Canterbury throughout their lives. Credit is due in no small way to the Centenary Committee and all those who contributed their time, skills and culinary expertise towards making the occasion a great success.