The Diocese of Northampton are pleased to announce that this years Becket Lecture will be given by Fr Gerard Skinner, a priest of the Archdiocese of Westminster.

Fr Gerard is an author of many books including one on Father Ignatius Spencer, the focus of the lecture. The lecture will take place at the St Thomas Centre in Northampton Cathedral on Sunday 7th July at 3pm.

Fr. Ignatius Spencer, born George Spencer, has notable connections to Northamptonshire through his familial ties and his work in the region. Born into the prominent Spencer family, he was the son of the 2nd Earl Spencer, whose ancestral home, Althorp House, is situated in Northamptonshire. This historic estate has been the Spencer family seat for centuries, and it is where Ignatius spent part of his early life.

Beyond his familial links, Fr. Ignatius Spencer’s connection to Northamptonshire is also reflected in his religious mission. After converting to Catholicism and joining the Passionist order, he often visited and preached in the area, fostering a Catholic revival and advocating for Christian unity. His efforts in Northamptonshire were part of his broader mission to promote reconciliation between Anglicans and Catholics, a cause that remained central to his ministry.

His legacy is remembered for his dedication to spiritual outreach and his commitment to fostering unity within the Christian community.Spencer’s legacy includes his commitment to ecumenism and his role in the early stages of the Catholic revival in 19th-century England. He passed away on October 1, 1864, and his cause for canonization was introduced in 1973, highlighting his enduring influence on the Catholic Church and his reputation for holiness.

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