By Joanna Bogle
If you don't know the story about Joseph of Arimathea and the Glastonbury Thorn - and alas too many young Catholics don't - then you should find out about it.
Hugh Ross Williamson wrote on the subject a good many years ago, and I think the book may still be in print.
Now another Catholic writer has given us a highly readable book which fleshes out the story, and gives us some haunting and memorable insights into what things might - just might - have been like in those very earliest days of Christianity in our land.
Joseph, of course, was the man - presumably moderately well-to-do, and tradition says possibly related to Our Lady's family - who provided a tomb for the body of Our Lord after the crucifixion, so that there could be a decent burial.
He is a shadowy, though sympathetic figure as he is seen fleetingly in the pages of the New Testament.
What happened to him next?
We can imagine him baffled, awed, touched, amazed by the news of the Resurrection, seeking information, talking perhaps to Peter and the others.
Certainly his position would have been an extraordinary one.
Did he seek baptism along with other believers at Pentecost?
Did he follow any of the Apostles as they set out on their first missionary journeys, taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth following the Lord's command?
Did he strike out on his own?
Legend says that he came to Britain.
It was on the trade routes of the Roman world.
Perhaps he had already visited before, as a trader in search of local products (tin was mined in Cornwall, even back then).
In this new book, we see him as fleeing the roman persecution of the Jews and the new Christians, arriving in Britain without his family, alone and sad.
We see him trusting in God, praying the prayers he had been taught all his life, pondering the signigicance of Christ, and - as the saga slowly unfolds and a tiny new Christian community begins to emerge - starting to --Catholic Times (UK), April 29, 2007