On Sunday afternoon, June 25, we have our annual pilgrimage in honour of the first martyr in this country—St. Alban, On that account alone he deserves our devotion, but he was also the forerunner of all those heroic men and women who, at the Reformation, were martyred for shielding or helping priests.
He is not only the first martyr, but also the first priest-harbourer of our country.
Attracted by the character of the priest whom he sheltered from the Roman soldiery, he allowed himself to be mistaken for, and apprehended as, the priest, while the priest himself escaped.
God rewarded his heroic act with the Grace of Faith, and then the crown of martyrdom.
Surely he deserves more devotion than he gets from Catholics as a whole. Sunday, June 25, gives us an opportunity to do him honour, and to ask his powerful intercession for the conversion of the land in which he lived.
It Is an afternoon pilgrimage, and is quite close to London, so that it is not an expensive one. We assemble on the site of the ancient city of Verulam that was St. Alban's home.
At 4 p.m. we have devotions there and a sermon, which Mgr. Canon Jackman has very kindly promised to preach; should it happen to be wet, the sermon will be in the parish church. From Verulam we go in procession along the way St. Alban was led, up the hill past St. Alban's Abbey, which
was built over the place of his martyrdom, to the church for Benediction.
The whole pilgrimage should be over by 6.30 p.m., so that it is not tiring, and I hope that many people will give up that afternoon to do honour to St. Alban, and to show the people of St. Albans that the Faith for which he died is living and strong to-day.
There are various ways of going from London.
By train from Euston, at 2.6 p.m., to St. Albans Abbey Station, or if you miss that there is another at 2.10 p.m., which is a slower train, but gets you there in time.
On coming out of the station turn right, and then left up a little lane which leads straight on to the Verulamium Fields.
Or from St. Pancras, at 2.35 p.m., to the St. Albans City Station, when there is a longish walk through the town to the fields.
Those who like a motor ride can go by Green Line coach from King's Cross, a 2.30, which lands you hi the town. The return fare is the same in each case-2s. 6d.
Another Green line coach goes from Victoria at 2.57 p.m.; return fare, 2s. 9d.
After Benediction, the Knights of St. Columba, who are giving us valuable help, have arranged for tea to be available in the hall behind the church.
The church is three minutes' walk from the City Station, and those who travel. from Euston to the Abbey Station can return from the City Station to St. Pancras with the same ticket. Be there!