THE P RTAL June 2018 A request for help from Joanna Bogle I s anyone Catholic History Walks Project Page 4 out there willing to help Auntie Joanna with her Catholic History Walks project? It’s London-based, but the work can be done anywhere, as it’s a matter of keeping the website up to date, notifying parishes, etc. A (very modest) monthly honorarium is on offer. Just what is this project? Essentially, it involves teaching people their own history. As is well known, students at school over the past two decades have not been taught history very well. It has been “thematic” - centred on the idea of looking at themes in history. Thus there are themes such as “health” or “housing” or a choice of a particular period: “The Tudors” “the Romans”, in no particular order so pupils get rather confused and find it difficult to grasp how the centuries roll on and how different eras unfold and overlap. And then in addition to all that, we have “Black History Month” and “Women’s History month” and – this last one is pure propaganda and has some elements that are distinctly anti-Christian: ”Lesbian and gay history month”. na wri tes The Ordinariate has – or should have – a special responsibility for helping to teach the history of our country, because we are part of a message of healing and hope over old divisions, and offering something positive as part of the New Evangelisation. Understanding the initial evangelisation of Britain is part of the key to promoting the New. The Faith came to these islands long, long ago – in the days of the Roman Empire, that same Empire into which Christ himself was born in Bethlehem in Judea. The Apostles, following the great commission given to them by Christ, set out to take the message to every nation. And so it came to Britain, along the routes and seaways of the Roman world. It is not just the young. Many people say with a mildly regretful shrug, “I never quite got the hang of history while I was at school”. And they certainly don’t link it with the history of the Church in our country, except for an embarrassed recognition of mutual Catholic/Protestant hostility, imprisonment, torture and killings in the 16 th and 17 th centuries. We can do better than this. And London’s Catholic History Walks are a start. Too many Catholics tend to think of “Catholic history” in Britain as starting with St Thomas More and Henry VIII. In fact, almost all RCs to whom I have mentioned the Walks have said “Oh yes – Thomas More…” But the Faith had been established in our country for well over a thousand years before Thomas More was born in Cheapside, and before Henry VIII was growing up with his older brother Arthur under the tutorship of their father Henry VII. There are records of Bishops from Britain visiting Rome in the early centuries – just as our Bishops visit today, to report to the Pope and to discuss issues with him. As the Roman Empire collapsed and the pagan Angles and Saxons invaded – across what we still call East Anglia – evangelisation had to begin anew… Of course there is a lot more to British history than just what we can learn from London. Walking along the Thames gives only a tiny part of a massive – and ongoing – story. But it’s a start. You are warmly invited Do you know about St Elphege, martyred by the to come on a Catholic History Walk – and, if you pagan Vikings? What about St Olave, the Christian think you might be able to help with administration, Viking king? Know anything about St Magnus? All and with getting the project expanding, do contact me. these saints are honoured along the Thames – and all You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – were involved in a Church that flourished here long and the History Walks website, with all the info on the before the Norman Conquest. latest Walks, is at www.catholichistorywalks.com.