I Thessalonians 2.2-8; Psalm 116; Luke 10.1-9
In 596, Pope St Gregory the Great appointed Augustine, then the Prior of St Andrew’s Abbey in Rome, to lead thirty monks to evangelise the Anglo-Saxons. They landed at Ebbsfleet in Kent in the spring of 597, and were cautiously received by King Æthelberht. The King and his court were converted (his wife, Queen Bertha, was already a Christian who had brought to Kent the Merovingian Bishop Liudhard as her Chaplain) and he donated land for the missionaries to establish a monastery and Cathedral at Canterbury, Æthelberht’s principal city. Thousands of converts were baptised on Christmas Day of 597. In 601 a second delegation was sent from Rome (among other things, they brought Augustine the pallium, denoting his archiepiscopal authority), and by 604, Bishoprics had been established at London and Rochester and a school for the training of native clergy had been opened. St Augustine probably died 26 May 604. As we give thanks for the apostolate of Augustine, let us pray that we in our time may also be given courage to proclaim the Good News of God in Christ.