Thursday, 19 October 2017

Novena to Saint Jude - October 2017

Our novena to Saint Jude starts on 20 October and can be prayed over the next eight days until his feast day on 28 October 2017. You can pray the novena in private, with your friends or family, or in a group:

Jesus, I praise you and bless you
And give you thanks for
all the graces and privileges
you have bestowed upon
your chosen apostle Saint Jude...

(Make your special request now)

Loving God,
who revealed to Saint Jude
your desire to come to us,
and share your life with us,
open our hearts
so that your Spirit may teach us your truth,
and that keeping your commandments
we may know your abiding presence.

Pictured is the Kossowski statue of Saint Jude


Monday, 16 October 2017

Feast celebrations 2017 - two days of great celebration

The Feast of Saint Jude celebrations will be taking place at the National Shrine of Saint Jude on 28 and 29 October 2017. This year, the Most Rev. Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark will be in attendance on Sunday 29 October 2017.

On Saturday 28 October 2017, there will be three Masses with the blessing of oil and anointing at: 12.00pm, 2.00pm and 4.00pm. These will be celebrated by the Prior Provincial of the Carmelites in Britain, Fr Kevin Alban, O.Carm.

On Sunday 29 October 2017, there will be two Masses with the blessing of oil and anointing at 12.30pm and 2.30pm. The 2.30pm Mass will be a very special one as it will be celebrated by the Archbishop of Southwark, the Most Rev. Peter Smith and concelebrated by Fr Kevin Alban, O.Carm., Prior Provincial of the Carmelites.

After this special Mass, the Archbishop and Prior Provincial will be then officially open the small meeting room (currently called Welcome Centre 2), and rename it the Brother Anthony McGreal room. Brother Anthony is pictured above.

Brother Anthony McGreal, O.Carm assisted the founder, Father Elias Lynch, O.Carm in establishing the Shrine of Saint Jude and the work of the Carmelite Press. His work with Father Elias created the groundwork for this special place – this special Apostolate continues sixty-two years later.  Brother Anthony’s nephew, Father Wilfrid McGreal, O.Carm will be in attendance for this special Mass and renaming of the room.  

Father Kevin Alban, O.Carm, said: “It will be a truly joyous occasion and we are looking forward to seeing many friends of Saint Jude.” Mr Matt Betts, Development Manager remarked: “The National Shrine of Saint Jude is proud of its past and we are pleased that we can honour one of our founders in this way. Everyone is very welcome to our weekend of celebrations.” 


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

New Calendar for 2018

Our new calendar is now available to buy from the online shop: it is limited to only 500 copies and these are selling fast. This calendar has been produced with photos from the National Shrine of Saint Jude, and includes special Feast Days and Carmelite Feast Days. All purchases support the work of the Carmelites in Britain and worldwide. Purchase, here.


Sunday, 1 October 2017

Special Offer: Online shop

We are offering 20% off any PRAYER CARDS OR BOOKLETS ORDERED at the online shop.

Please use the code JudeOctober once you’ve added all your items to the shopping cart. Please note this offer runs out on 31 October 2017. All prayer cards and booklets can be viewed, here: 

All funds raised goes towards the work of the Shrine and the Carmelites in the UK and abroad. Use the code JudeOctober in the section called “Discount Code” at the bottom of the Shopping Cart. Once the code is entered simply click “Apply Coupon”. You can pay for items via your debit/credit card (or cheque and cash).

Our shop can be visited, here:


Friday, 22 September 2017

Novena to the Little Flower

The following novena recently published in Carmelite News and from the National Shrine of Saint Jude is for nine days. The novena starts on 23 September 2017 and continues until the Feast Day of Saint Thérèse. You can pray the novena in private, with your friends or family, or in a group

Remember, most gracious Little Flower, 
our Rose Queen, your wish to spend 
your time in heaven doing good upon earth. 
Full of confidence in your power 
I implore your intercession on my behalf. 

Make your special request now 

Lord Jesus Christ, who said, 
“Unless you become like little children 
you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven,” 
grant that we may imitate 
Saint Thérèse, 
in humilty and in simplicity of heart 
that we may come to share 
in her eternal reward. 
You who live with 
the Father and the Holy Spirit. 


The National Shrine of Saint Jude has a society dedicated to the Little Flower. Find out more, here. We also have a number of prayer cards to Saint Thérèse, which can be purchased from here.

The Shrine of the Little Flower here in Faversham


Friday, 8 September 2017

Autumn Newsletter - 2017

We are pleased to announce that the latest issue of Carmelite News is now available to all our online friends. Carmelite News is available to view via a system called Page Tiger. You do not need special software for the online 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 read the newsletter as if it was printed. 

Our autumn issue can be accessed, via this link.

The autumn issue has all relevant web links enabled so you can click to go directly to any site mentioned. Each newsletter can be read either as a two-page spread or as a single spread. It is also possible to zoom into each page. 

In this edition, our Prior Provincial, Fr Kevin Alban, O.Carm writes his first letter to the friends of Saint Jude. Fr Kevin writes about the Carmelite Martyr, Blessed Titus Brandsma; Saint Jude's outreach and the work in East Timor; the Feast of Saint Jude; and much more.



Monday, 4 September 2017

Feast of Saint Jude - 2017

In 2017 the feast of Saint Jude, 28th October, falls on a Saturday.

There will be a number of celebrations in Faversham on the day itself and Sunday. More details below:

Saturday 28 October 2017 
Saint Jude Mass with the Blessing of Oil and Anointing 
12.00pm - 2.00pm - 4.00pm 

Sunday 29 October 2017 
Saint Jude Mass with the Blessing of Oil and Anointing 
12.30pm and 2.30pm


If you can't attend, we can light a candle for you. Please purchase one here.


Friday, 1 September 2017

Photo(s) of the Month - September

The triple light window at the back of the Shrine Chapel depicts Our Lady of Mount Carmel (with the Scapular in her hand) and the Christ-Child with a scapular and dove, with attendant angels on a rainbow. The rainbow imagery here refers to the Old Testament story of Noah in the Book of Genesis. The dove seen above the hands of the Christ Child, could again refer to the dove bringing the olive leaf to Noah, but Christ is also seen as the bringer of peace.

The windows are the work of Richard King. Richard Joseph King (1907–17 March 1974) was an Irish stained glass artist and illustrator. He was born in Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland, where his father was a sergeant in the Royal Irish Constabulary.

Read more, here.


Friday, 25 August 2017

Pilgrim Visits from Faversham - Part 2

View of Canterbury Cathedral from St Augustine's Abbey
As introduced in my first blog update on pilgrim visits from Faversham, one of the many advantages to visiting the Shrine of Saint Jude is that pilgrims have opportunities to add to their Christian experience after a visit to us. This blog is going to include a semi-regular look at some of the pilgrimage sites you can visit whilst down here – the Shrine of Saint Jude can then simply be the start; middle or end of your pilgrimage.

Last time on this blog, I discussed Canterbury Cathedral and the interesting areas and shrines there for the pilgrim, so I've decided to stick with Canterbury for this next update, and discuss the wonderful: St Augustine's Abbey.

This great abbey, which marks the rebirth of Christianity in southern England, was founded shortly after AD 597 by Saint Augustine. It is situated outside the Roman and medieval city walls of Canterbury, and is on the main road east out of the city to the Kent coast. Most of the abbey is now in the care of English Heritage – other parts are also occupied by the King’s School and Canterbury prison. However, under the areas owned by English Heritage, it is possible to see: parts of the main cloister buildings; main gates; the infirmary; and the outer court, plus numerous chapels and important tombs of Anglo-Saxon kings and some Archbishop's of Canterbury. 

The monastery was founded on this site in about 598 by Saint Augustine. He had with him a small group of monks, and had been sent to England from Rome by Pope Gregory the Great to restore Christianity to the isles. Christianity had first come to Britain with the Romans, but after the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD, and the increasing invasions of pagans in these isles, the faith only survived in the unconquered areas of Wales and the some areas in the west of England.

Saint Augustine (8th Century)
Kent was chosen as the place to reintroduce Christianity, because the local king, Ethelbert was a very powerful leader in the area. He was also married to Bertha, a Frankish princess who was already a practicing Christian. The missionaries were welcomed by King Ethelbert, and he soon converted to the faith. This was an important step forward, and King Ethelbert fully supported Saint Augustine’s mission by providing an old Roman church in Canterbury so it could be converted into a Cathedral, and provided the site to the east of the city to found this monastery.

The north wall of the nave of the Abbey church
The monastery thrived for over 1000 years and the abbey was expanded and rebuilt several times. Saint Augustine’s also established extensive estates mostly in East Kent, and at its height it held almost 12,000 acres of land. These were to support its work in Canterbury as it had become a very important pilgrim city.  

However, by 1532, King Henry VIII had declared himself Supreme Head of the Church of England, and afterwards there was an increased pressure to reform or destroy institutions like St Augustine’s Abbey. By 1538, Thomas Cromwell, Henry’s Chief Minister, had set his sights on the bigger monasteries, and St Augustine’s was surrendered to the King’s Commissioners on 30 July of that year. The Abbot and the monks were given a pension, and the books, gold and silver plate were scattered all over England.

The north wall of the nave of the Abbey church
After the dissolution of the Abbey, King Henry VIII converted many of the buildings into a royal palace for his fourth Queen: Anne of Cleves. However it was not used much, and after the death of Henry, the buildings were passed onto various Lords and families, until finally early in the twentieth century, it was given to English Heritage. 

What will the pilgrim see at the Abbey?

You will first walk through the very informational museum – full of facts about the abbey's origins and its development. Afterwards, the pilgrim can walk around the ruins of the Abbey. A free audio tour is provided for the visitor – I would highly recommend this! 

As the guide for this holy place states: “..the site of St Augustine’s Abbey presents a challenge to the visitor, as, apart from the north wall of the nave ahead of you, and the chapel of Saint Pancras, few of the buildings survive to their original height..” As such, it is very difficult to imagine that the church was only slightly smaller than the Cathedral! The other confusion lies in the fact two abbey complexes dating from different times are now viewable: the Saxon monastery and the Norman monastery can be seen here. This is thanks to very extensive archaeological digs in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 

I will now discuss some of the interesting buildings that are here to see for the pilgrim or visitor:

Saint Anne’s Chapel
This small chantry chapel of Saint Anne was used to say Masses for the dead. A number of graves were in this chapel. 

South Transept
Soon after it was built, several Anglo-Saxon kings were reburied here, including the following Kings of Kent: Edbald, Lothaire, Whitred, and a King of Wessex: Mulus – who died in a battle with Kentish kings near here. In the east wall is a chapel dedicated to Saint John the Baptist.

The Norman Crypt and Presbytery
On the right hand side of this area is the chapel dedicated to Saint Thomas the Apostle (Jude’s friend and fellow Apostle). This is an excellently preserved chapel as the remains to an original altar slab can be seen here. This was found when the chapel was excavated and probably came from the main church. 

The central chapel at the east end of the church was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Crypt: until the 1270s, it was used for the singing of Mass. In 1325, after the founding of the Lady Chapel, it was rededicated to St Mary and the Angels.

The northern chapel is not as well as preserved as other areas, but was dedicated to the great English saint: Saint Richard of Chichester.

A plaque showing the site of Saint Augustine's grave
The Presbytery
The presbytery was the area immediately in front of the high altar. It had the main shrines of the Abbey behind it, including a shrine to St Augustine, and twelve other shrines to eleven archbishops and Saint Mildred. 

Saint Pancras Chapel
Pope Gregory the Great gave impetus to the cult of Pancras, sending Augustine to England carrying relics of that saint and literature on his legend. This is why many English churches are dedicated to Pancras; St Pancras Old Church in London is one of the oldest sites of Christian worship in England. In medieval iconography, Pancras was depicted as a young soldier.

Chapel of Saint Pancras
This chapel dates back to the Anglo-Saxon period, but there may have been an earlier pagan building here before then. A legend says that Saint Augustine said his first Mass in Canterbury in the area near this chapel. 

The cloister and other monastic buildings
The cloister is square and about 37 metres by 35 metres with a garden surrounded by covered walkways. It formed the main living area for the monks and gave access to all the main buildings of the Abbey. Along from the cloister, it is possible to visit the ruins of the kitchen, the monks’ dormitory, the infirmary and the chapter house, as well as other areas of interest.

Decorative floor tiles relaid from elsewhere in the church, now in the Chapel of St Mary and the Angels
Saint Augustine’s Abbey is a very prayerful and peaceful place – I would highly recommended any visitor from our Shrine to go and see. 

Next time on this blog, I will be writing about some of the pilgrimage sites in Faversham.

Let us pray:

Prayer to Saint Augustine of Canterbury:
O Lord our God, who by your Son Jesus Christ called your Apostles and sent them forth to preach the Gospel to the nations: we bless your holy name for your servant Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, whose labours in propagating your Church among the English people we commemorate; and we pray that all whom you call and send may do your will, and bide your time, and see your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Looking out from the Chapel of St Mary and the Angels

Prayer to Saint Pancras:
God of mercy,
give your Church joy and confidence
through the prayers of Saint Pancras.
Keep us faithful to you
and steadfast in your service.
Through our Lord, Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Saint Jude, pray for us.

Matt Betts, Shrine of Saint Jude

All photos taken by Matt Betts, except the image of Saint Augustine which is from Wikipedia.