St. Augustine of Canterbury

Friends in Christ, until the year 410, Great Britain, known as Britania, had been part of the Roman Empire: Roman culture, structure, and laws were present. But because the empire weakened, in the year 410, Roman soldiers were removed from Britain, and the people were left to fend for themselves against the Saxon tribes.
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The invading, war-like, Anglo-Saxons settled in the south, while the western parts still remained Christian. The invasions destroyed most remnants of Roman culture. This was the situation in which Pope Gregory the Great decided to send missionaries to convert the Anglo-Saxons. He sent 40 missionaries, led by the saint who we remember today: St. Augustine of Canterbury.
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On their way there, they heard from people of the cruelty and barbarism of the Anglo-Saxons, and so they wanted to give up. They sent Augustine back to Rome to request permission to return, but the Pope said that they must go on. Gregory had heard encouraging news that England was ready for the Faith, so he sent Augustine on his way, feeling that the time was right.  
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Arriving in 597AD, they found that the king was willing to listen to them. In fact, he was just as afraid of them as they were of him! Fearful that they would use magic on them, he held the meeting in the open air. He listened to what they had to say about Christianity and allowed them to preach as long as they did not force anyone to convert.
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In only one year, Augustine’s missionaries baptized more than 10,000 Catholics, and even the King himself was baptized. Augustine sent letters to the Pope asking for advice: How to organize the Church, who was allowed to marry whom, the consecration of more bishops, when could people receive Communion, and how to punish church robbers. 
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Evidently his mission was difficult. He converted many pagan temples to Churches, pagan feasts were moved to saints days to inculcate the faith, and a school was established which would send teachers to other parts of Britain.
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Of the ‘old Catholics’ who had still been in Britain, they had in many ways strayed from true practice of the Faith. Augustine met with them several times to try to bring them along, but they could not forgive their conquerors, and instead chose isolation and bitterness. Ironically, the old church was not open to Faith, but the pagans entered the Faith in droves, thirsty for Jesus Christ.  
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Today is not so much different. It is often easier to convert a non-Catholic, than to convince a lapsed Catholic to return to the WAY. And so, like St. Augustine of Canterbury, we share the faith wherever the land is fertile.

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