Last month, Fr Michael joined the Shrine team as our Chaplain. Here he talks about his first month:
“One of the greatest joys of Faversham is to welcome pilgrims who have come here to express their devotion to Saint Jude, asking him to intercede for them and their needs. In the month that I have been Chaplain of the Shrine, I have seen many groups, families and individuals who have travelled here to spend a large part of their day with Saint Jude. For most of them it is not their first visit, but for some it has been their first time.
These ‘first-timers’ all speak about the sense of prayer that they experience as they enter the grounds. These pilgrims are instantly part of a multitude of people who have been pilgrims here over the years. Each pilgrim leaves some trace of their visit, not just in petitions or entries in the visitors book, but also in the fabric of the Shrine.
Pilgrims are part of something greater than their party, whatever size it may be. Arriving at the National Shrine of Saint Jude is a part of a journey which started long before their decision to visit here, and will continue for many years after they have left.
Their journey becomes part of our journey, and our journey in turn becomes a part of theirs, and in all of this stands Jesus; for as he says in the Gospel for this coming Sunday: ‘where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them.’ (Matt 18.20)
Fr Michael Manning O. Carm., Chaplain