Monday, 29 February 2016

Photo of the Month - Mount Carmel

Thank you to Guild members, Hugh and Margaret Parry who sent us this beautiful photo of Mount Carmel.

The National Shrine of Saint Jude is served by the Order of Carmelites.

The Carmelite Family is one of the ancient religious communities of the Roman Catholic Church. Known officially as the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, the Carmelite Order developed from a group of hermits in thirteenth-century Palestine; priests and lay people living a contemplative community life of prayer and service modelled on the prophet Elijah and the Virgin Mary.

Read more about the Carmelites on the British Province website.

Details on the Guild of Saint Jude can be found here

Friday, 19 February 2016

Fathers' Mass

For the first time, a shared Mass will be celebrated at the National Shrine of Saint Jude in honour of Saint Joseph and all fathers and grandfathers.

Simply add the name(s) of a father, or grandfather and a donation. Those listed can be your father, someone else’s father, a grandfather, someone who is soon to be a father, someone who is hoping for a child, or a paternal figure in your life. 

You can add a name(s) via our special page, hereOr, you can send your names and donation to: Fathers' Mass, Carmelite Friars, P.O. Box 140, Kent, ME20 7SJ

Saint Joseph, pray for us!

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Thoughts from the Chaplain - Lent

I last wrote about what is called Ordinary Time and now that we have just started Lent, so I thought it appropriate that I write something about Lent.

In the Oxford Dictionary the definition of Lent is: the period preceding Easter, which is devoted to fasting, abstinence, and penitence and runs from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday. 

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church it denotes the liturgical season of forty days which begins with Ash Wednesday and ends with the celebration of the Paschal Mystery (Easter Triduum). Lent is the primary penitential season in the Church's liturgical year, reflecting the forty days Jesus spent in the desert in fasting and prayer.

So what do we do during Lent?  The first thing is Prayer.  Of course all of us pray as part of our Christian lives but the idea of prayer in Lent is to take a serious look at our prayer life. Like an engine our prayer life needs to be serviced every so often; it needs tinkering with to improve its ‘performance’.  Maybe we need to look at a different form of prayer to the one we have been using for the last few years and see if something new may give vigour our prayer. Or maybe we need to try some periods of just silently being with God.  I am not saying that the way that we all pray needs to be thrown out and replaced but just that sometimes an added dimension or facet to our prayer life may open us to a something fresh.  Saint Augustine says: Do you wish your prayer to fly toward God? Give it two wings: fasting and almsgiving; this brings us to the second aspect of Lenten practise:  Fasting.

Fasting is the practice refraining from eating between meals and to limit our eating to one full meal and two lighter meals.  This applies to then entire Lenten Season although Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fasting and also abstinence. Abstinence means that we do not eat meat on those days.  Of course these practices do not mean that we give up the tradition of not eating meat on a Friday.  It is not only the Christian Churches that use fasting. Most of the major religions see the benefits of a fast period as a cleansing and a preparation for a religious feast. A number of doctors also recognise the health benefits of fasting and there is now the five day fasting diet.  These advantages of fasting can of course be applied to Christian and especially Lenten fasting but the main purpose of fasting is as a preparation for the celebration of the Easter Triduum and reflects the forty days in the wilderness of Jesus as he prepared for his public ministry. 

The third dimension of our Lenten preparation is also mentioned by Saint Augustine and that is Almsgiving. If we go back to the earliest days of the Church, we see almsgiving at the heart of Christian community. In the Acts of the Apostles, we read, “There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need” (4:34-35). Almsgiving was woven into everyday life, a given, a Christian attitude that has since lost some of its edge. Almsgiving is not only for the rich or people who have some extra spending money, but also for those who are poor or are struggling; remember the widow putting her last small coin into the temple collection. All of us are called upon to go outside of our own personal needs and help others during this time, especially during this time, because we are always called to do this as Christians. Those who are unequal in their capacity to give can be equal in their love with their hearts. So if we cannot give of our treasure, then we can give of our time or talent. 

Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving the three pillars of Lent. Pope Francis says of almsgiving:  "In almsgiving one gives something to someone from whom one does not expect to receive anything in return. Gratuitousness should be one of the characteristics of the Christian, who aware of having received everything from God gratuitously, that is, without any merit of his own, learns to give to others freely” (Homily in Basilica of Santa Sabina, Wednesday, 5 March 2014).

Fr Michael Manning, O.Carm, Chaplain at the National Shrine of Saint Jude

Monday, 15 February 2016

Spring 2016 newsletter - now available

Dear Friends of Saint Jude,

We are pleased to announce that the latest issue of Carmelite News is now available to all our on-line subscribers – a whole week before it arrives in the post for the rest of our supporters.
Carmelite News is available to view via a system called Page Tiger. You do not need special software for the on-line magazine and you will be able to print all, or part of it if you wish to do so. Page Tiger will allow you to turn the pages and read the newsletter as if was printed. 

Click on image below to read..

Spring 2016 - Issue 1

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Easter cards 2016

Why not send an Easter card or novena from the National Shrine of Saint Jude to your friends and family? We have great Easter card packs on offer. Some of the designs are below. 

All proceeds go towards the Shrine and the work of the Carmelites in Britain and worldwide. These can be purchased via: 


Monday, 8 February 2016

The Biblical Origins of Our Jubilee Year

Carmelites from Britain (including the Development Manager of our Shrine) took part in a gathering held in Rome in mid-January 2016 for those involved in the work of pilgrimage and shrine ministry. 

On the second day of our visit, we took the opportunity to build fraternal links with fellow Carmelites, and to make a pilgrimage to some of the Order's holy sites in the Eternal City. Warm hospitality was offered by the friars at the Basilica of San Martino ai Monti, where we met Fr. Craig Morrison, O.Carm., who teaches Aramaic and Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. Fr. Craig has very kindly allowed us to publish his excellent article on the biblical origins of our Jubilee Year:

"The Book of Leviticus, the third book of the Old Testament, announced to the ancient Israelites the specifics of their Jubilee Year observance: “You shall consecrate the fiftieth year and you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you” (Leviticus 25:10). So during the Jubilee Year, our Israelite ancestors freed their slaves, cancelled debts, and everyone, rich and poor alike, enjoyed a year of rest. It was a year of clemency and mercy for those in need, especially those who had been sold into slavery because of financial difficulties.

This year’s Jubilee is called “extraordinary” because it is not in the cycle of the fifty-year Jubilee as the Bible commands, but has been proclaimed for a special occasion. Pope Francis announced this special Jubilee Year to remind all the baptised that the Church in the world is a sign of God’s mercy and clemency toward all peoples. Jesus too understood his own mission as an extraordinary Jubilee Year. At the beginning of his public life, he returned to the synagogue in his home town of Nazareth (see Luke 4:14-20). It was the Sabbath day (our Saturday) and Jesus, an observant Jew, stood up to read from the Bible. He chose verses from chapters 58 and 61 of the Book of Isaiah. The Bible at the time of Jesus was written on lengthy scrolls, and so the servants in the synagogue that day would have had to roll the scroll for quite some time as Jesus scanned the Hebrew text looking for the passages he wanted. The congregation must have been waiting with fervent anticipation: “What passage is this rabbi searching for?” Finally Jesus finds the text from Isaiah that he wants to read aloud:

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to
bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim
release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let
the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s

Jesus’ announcement that his time on earth would be a “year of the Lord’s favour” proclaimed to this ancient Jewish congregation that a Jubilee Year was about to begin. Once Jesus leaves the synagogue we follow him through the Gospels to discover that everyone whom Jesus meets experiences the Jubilee. Jesus stops at the casket of a widow’s only son and addresses the dead man: “Young man, I say to you, rise!” (Luke 7:14). A paralytic lying beside the pool at one of Jerusalem’s gates rises from the mat on which he has been lying for 38 years: “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” (John 5:8). Another paralysed man, after being lowered down through the roof of the house where Jesus is teaching, never even gets a chance to open his mouth before Jesus says to him, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you” (Luke 5:20). An excluded woman with a haemorrhage is called a “daughter” by Jesus (Luke 8:48) and a leprous man, touched by Jesus, can return to life in the Jewish community. These individuals and so many others in the Gospel celebrate Jesus’ Jubilee year.

Many of these key moments of mercy in the Gospels are depicted on the Holy Doors of St. Peter’s Basilica—the bronze doors that Pope Francis opened on 8 December 2015 to inaugurate the Jubilee year. The sixteen images on the doors trace various Jubilee moments in biblical history—moments of redemption. Among my favourites is the depiction of Jesus’ glance at Peter who has just denied knowing Jesus. The Latin inscription is taken from Luke 22:61 “conversus Dominus respexit Petrum”; “The Lord turned and looked at Peter.” You can see at the top of the scene the rooster that has just crowed, reminding Peter of Jesus’ prediction at the Last Supper: “I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until you have denied three times that you know me” (Luke 22:34). The high priest Caiaphas is seated in the background and Jesus, his hands now bound, looks at Peter who cannot look at him. Through his tears, he recognizes that he has denied knowing the one whom he recognized as the messiah just as Jesus is about to embrace his cross. But after the resurrection, Jesus’ first words to Peter are “Peace be with you” (Luke 24:36). In that sacred moment Peter experiences the profound meaning of Jesus’ “Year of Favour,” the Jubilee Year that he announced that day in the synagogue. The debt Peter owes to Jesus is cancelled in the risen Christ’s loving greeting: “Peace be with you.”

When Pope Francis announced the Jubilee year, he wrote that the Holy Doors are doors of mercy “through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instills hope.” The faith-filled millions, who will pass through St. Peter’s Holy Doors this year, will pass by the image of Peter weeping for his sin. We too can pass through the holy doors in the National Shrine of Saint Jude knowing that Jesus waits for us on the other side with the same words of mercy that he said long ago to his friend and disciple Peter: “Peace be with you.”"

Fr. Craig Morrison, O.Carm., teaches Aramaic and Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. Article is copyright Fr. Craig Morrison, O.Carm.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Summer Celebration 2016

Summer Celebration

Full details of our 2016 Summer Celebration are now available.

The summer is always very beautiful at the Shrine, and it will be lovely to see visitors at the Summer Celebration. All welcome.

11.00: Devotions with Anointing
12.00 – 13.00: Picnic on the grounds 
13.30: Open Air Mass 
14.30: Saint Jude procession through the Holy Door
15.00: Brown scapular enrolment

The summer is always very beautiful at the Shrine, and it will be lovely to see visitors at the Summer Celebration. All welcome.

Friends of Saint Jude who cannot attend, can purchase a pillar candle, which will be lit on the day for your intentions. A Saint Jude pillar candle can be ordered here, or a St Thérèse of Lisieux pillar candle, here.

Please note that the Shrine is based at: 34 Tanners Street, Faversham, ME13 7JW

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes

The following novena was recently published in Carmelite News and is from the National Shrine of Saint Jude. Our novena to Our Lady of Lourdes is for nine days.

You can pray the novena in private, with your friends or family, or in a group. The novena starts on Wednesday 3 February and continues until 11 February 2016.

3 - 11 February 2016

God of mercy,
we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes,
the sinless mother of Jesus, your Son.
May her prayers help us
to rise above our human weakness.

We ask this through
our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Make your special request now

Monday, 1 February 2016

Address from Pope Francis for Pilgrimage organisers

Carmelites from Britain, the Philippines and Poland took part in a gathering held in Rome in mid-January 2016 of those involved in the work of pilgrimage and shrine ministry.

As part of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has invited people to come to Rome as pilgrims to reflect on some of the Church's particular ministries of mercy. Over the course of the Jubilee Year there will be gatherings of: people who are sick or disabled; those involved in the spirituality of Divine Mercy; priests; deacons; catechists; volunteers of Mercy; and others.

The Holy Father wanted the first gathering to be of those who are involved in the work of pilgrimages and shrines, since going on pilgrimage is often an experience that gives people a special encounter with the love and mercy of God.

Pilgrimage and shrine ministry are important apostolates of the Carmelite Family worldwide, and Carmelites were among the approximately 1,000 participants at the Jubilee which took place between 19th and 21st January.

The British Province of Carmelites was represented by: Fr. Francis Kemsley, O.Carm. (on behalf of Aylesford, but former Shrine Director at Saint Jude); Mr. Matthew Betts, Development Manager at the National Shrine of Saint Jude (which the Carmelites established 60 years ago); and Mr. Johan Bergström-Allen, T.O.C., the Province's Communications & Outreach Manager who coordinates an annual Carmelite pilgrimage to Lourdes, organises special pilgrimage events (such as to Avila for the 'Teresa 500' celebrations last year), and is a Guardian of the Shrine of Our Lady of Doncaster.

You can read more about the trip, here.

At the end of the trip, the group were invited to an Audience with Pope Francis. Here follows the address from Pope Francis, translated by Johan Bergström-Allen:

Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy

Jubilee of Pilgrimage Organisers and Rectors of Sanctuaries
 Pope Francis’ Address

Paul VI Hall
Thursday 21 January 2016

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

I cordially welcome all of you, people who work in pilgrimages and shrines. Going on pilgrimage to shrines is one of the most eloquent expressions of the faith of the people of God. It manifests the piety of generations of people who, with simplicity, have believed and entrusted themselves to the intercession of the Virgin Mary and the saints. This popular religiosity is a genuine form of evangelisation, which needs to be increasingly promoted and valued, without minimising its importance. It’s interesting: Blessed Paul VI, in Evangellii nuntiandi, speaks of popular religiosity, but says it is better to call it “popular piety”; and then, the Latin American Bishops in their Aparecida Document go a step further and speak of “popular spirituality”. All three concepts are valid, but together. At shrines, in fact, our people live their profound spirituality, that piety which for centuries has shaped the faith with devotions that are simple but very meaningful. We think to how intensified, in some of these places, is prayer to Christ crucified, or that of the Rosary, or the Way of the Cross

It would be a mistake to assume that those who go on pilgrimage live a spirituality that is not personal but rather “en masse”. In fact, the pilgrim carries with them their own story, their own faith, the lights and shadows of their lives. Each carries in their heart a special desire and a particular prayer. Whoever enters the shrine immediately feels at home, welcomed, understood and supported. I really like the biblical figure of Anna, the mother of the prophet Samuel. In the temple of Shiloh, her heart full of sadness, she prayed to the Lord to have a child. Eli the priest instead thought she was drunk and wanted to throw her out (cf. 1 Samuel 1:12-14). Anna represents well so many people we can meet in our shrines. Eyes fixed on the Crucifix or the image of the Virgin Mary, a prayer said with tears in his eyes, full of confidence. The sanctuary is really a privileged space to meet the Lord and touch his mercy with your hands. To go to confession in a shrine is to have the experience of touching the mercy of God with your hand.

This is the key word that I wish to underline together with you today: welcome. Welcome pilgrims. It could be said that everything depends on welcome. A welcome that is loving, festive, heartfelt, and patient. It also takes patience! The Gospels present Jesus as always welcoming towards those who approach him, especially the sick, the sinners, the marginalized. And remember that expression: “He who receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me” (Matthew 10:40). Jesus spoke about welcome, but mostly he practiced it. When we are told that sinners – such as Matthew and Zacchaeus – welcomed Jesus into their homes and at their tables, it is first of all because they had felt welcomed by Jesus, and that had changed their lives. It’s interesting that the Book of the Acts of the Apostles ends with the scene of Saint Paul who, here in Rome, “welcomed all who came to him” (Acts 28:30). His home, where he lived as a prisoner, was the place where he announced the Gospel. Welcome is truly the determining factor for evangelisation. Sometimes, just a word or a smile is enough to make a person feel a heartfelt welcome.

The pilgrim who comes to the shrine is often tired, hungry, thirsty … And many times this physical condition also reflects the interior. Therefore, this person needs to be well received in both material and spiritual terms. It is important that the pilgrim who crosses the threshold of the sanctuary feels treated more like a member of the family than as a guest. He or she should feel at home, awaited, loved, and looked at with eyes of mercy. Anyone, young or old, rich or poor, sick or troubled, and curious tourists, can find the welcome due to them, because in each one there is a heart that seeks God, sometimes without being fully aware of it. We ensure that every pilgrim has the joy of finally feeling understood and loved. In this way, when they return home they will feel nostalgia for what they have experienced and a desire to come back, but also wanting to continue the journey of faith in their ordinary life.

A very special form of welcome is that given by the ministers of God’s forgiveness. The shrine is the home of forgiveness, where everyone encounters the tenderness of the Father who has mercy on everyone, without exception. Those who approach the confessional do so because they are repentant, repenting their sins. He or she feels the need to approach there. He/she clearly perceives that God does not condemn, but welcomes him/her and hugs him/her, like the father of the prodigal son, who restores his filial dignity (cf. Luke 15:20-24). Priests who carry out a ministry in sanctuaries must have hearts impregnated by mercy; their attitude must be that of a father.

Dear brothers and sisters, we live this Jubilee with faith and joy: let us live as one big pilgrimage. You, especially, live your service as a work of corporal and spiritual mercy. I assure you of my prayers for this, through the intercession of Mary our Mother. And please, with your prayers, accompany me in my pilgrimage. Thank you.


Written and translated by Johan Bergström-Allen, T.O.C.: