Friday, 18 August 2017

Photo of the Month - August 2017

The gardens surrounding the Shrine of Saint Jude are beautiful this time of year. This photo shows on of the many flowers here. Brother Tony O'Donnell, O.Carm and the rest of the Faversham community are truly great gardeners.


Thursday, 3 August 2017

Novena to Saint Jude - August 2017

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

Our novena to Saint Jude is below and can be prayed over the next nine days until 11 August 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. 

Our new statue of Saint Jude was recently handed to Pope Francis in Rome, see here for more details.


Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Blessed Titus Brandsma - 75th Anniversary of Martyrdom

Today is the 75th anniversary of the martyrdom of Blessed Titus Brandsma in the concentration camp of Dachau.

Titus Brandsma, O.Carm., was a Dutch Carmelite friar, priest and professor of philosophy. Brandsma was vehemently opposed to Nazi ideology and spoke out against it many times before the Second World War. He was imprisoned in the infamous Dachau concentration camp, where he died. He has been beatified by the church as a martyr of the faith.

He was beatified as a martyr by Saint Pope John Paul II on 3rd November 1985.

Pictured is our icon of Blessed Titus in the Shrine. A wonderful collection of books by Blessed Titus are available on our online shop

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Happy Feast Day of Saint James the Apostle

Happy Feast Day of Saint James the Apostle - fellow Apostle to Saint Jude.

Saint James, son of Zebedee (died 44 AD) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, and was the first apostle to be martyred. He was a son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother of John the Apostle.
Saint James, pray for us.

Pictured is one of our prayer cards to the Apostle.


Monday, 24 July 2017


Christians believe that God calls all people to a life of holiness, that is, a life in relationship with God and with others. This ‘vocation’ or calling can take different forms.

Some people are called by God to join religious families, such as the Carmelite Family, as either religious (friars, nuns, sisters, hermits) or lay people. Those who choose to join the Carmelite Order join a small group of brothers who are involved in the work of preaching the Gospel and witnessing to the presence of God in the world. The Carmelites have always found that actions speak louder than words, and are an example of a life which is totally dedicated to God.

You can support this area with a small donation, which will then enable new life to flourish in the Carmelite Order and the church. It will also allow the Order to support our friars in their ongoing studies. Donate, here.


Thursday, 20 July 2017

Feast of Saint Elijah, Prophet & Father of Carmelites

Happy Feast of Saint Elijah! Pictured is our stained glass window of Saint Elijah.

Mass was celebrated today by Fr Richard Copsey, O.Carm for our special Feast of Saint Elijah. Photos from the Mass are below.


Saturday, 15 July 2017

Raffe Draw - 2017

The annual Shrine of Saint Jude raffle was drawn by Fr Richard Copsey, O.Carm - member of the Faversham community. Winners will be notified soon.


Friday, 14 July 2017

Mothers' Mass

Fr Brendan Grady, O.Carm (our chaplain) celebrated our annual Mothers' Mass today. The names we received were on the altar and will now be placed in the Shrine of Saint Jude for the rest of the year.


Friday, 7 July 2017

Novena for the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel: 8 - 16 July 2017

The novena from the National Shrine of Saint Jude for Our Lady of Mount Carmel begins on 8 July. The novena is for the nine days leading up to the Feast of Our Lady of Carmel, which falls on 16 July. You can pray the novena in private, with your friends or family, or in a group.

Statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, National Shrine of Saint Jude

O God, 
you have given us Mary as our Mother
and, through the Order of Carmel, 
we learn to call her sister.
May we imitate her goodness and faith
and be ever joyful in the wonderful things
you have done for us.
May Mary watch over and protect us
on our pilgrim way to your holy mountain,
Christ the Lord.
We make our prayer through the same Christ, 
Our Lord. Amen.

Make your special request now

Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory be...

Once again, a shared Mass will be celebrated at the National Shrine of Saint Jude in honour of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and all mothers and grandmothers. Simply add the name(s) of a mother, or grandmother via our special page.


Monday, 3 July 2017

Pilgrim Visits from Faversham - Part 1

One of the many advantages of visiting the Shrine of Saint Jude in Faversham is that pilgrims have additional 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.

Before, I carry on, I must not forget to mention, our very own peaceful and beautiful sister-shrine at Aylesford. We will be returning to Aylesford at some point, but I suspect that most of our blog readers are already very well aware of our sister-shrine, so I wanted to discuss some other places of pilgrimage first.

First up: Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury. The city is easily reached from Faversham – either by train, bus or car – or like I did once upon a time – you can walk. It is the closest city to Faversham and the grandest. For many centuries, Faversham was part of a pilgrimage route to Canterbury – and many a king passed through our special town on their way to Canterbury.

The city is a popular tourist destination: consistently one of the most-visited cities in the United Kingdom.

Canterbury has been occupied since Paleolithic times and served as the capital of the Celtic Cantiaci and Jute Kingdom of Kent. Many historical structures fill the area, including a city wall founded in Roman times and rebuilt in the 14th century, the ruins of St Augustine's Abbey and a Norman castle, and the oldest extant school in the world, the King's School. Modern additions include the Marlowe Theatre and the St Lawrence Ground, home of the Kent County Cricket Club. There is also a substantial student population (Fr. Wilfrid McGreal, O.Carm - Prior at Faversham was a student at the University of Kent, Canterbury, as was I!).

Founded in 597, Canterbury Cathedral was completely rebuilt from 1070 to 1077. The east end was greatly enlarged at the beginning of the twelfth century, and largely rebuilt in the Gothic style following a fire in 1174, with significant eastward extensions to accommodate the flow of pilgrims visiting the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket, the archbishop who was murdered in the cathedral in 1170.

This was a pivotal moment in the history of the cathedral, when the archbishop, St Thomas Becket, was murdered in the north-west transept (also known as the Martyrdom) on Tuesday, 29 December 1170, by knights of King Henry II. After his martyrdom, pilgrims flocked from miles around to visit the Shrine of St Thomas Becket – including King Henry II. Fictional pilgrims are portrayed in Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.

Unfortunately, the shrine was destroyed in 1538, during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, on orders from King Henry VIII. The king also ordered that Becket's bones were to be destroyed, and ordered that all mention of Becket’s name be obliterated.

Nevertheless, and fortunately, King Henry VIII failed to obliterate his name or interest in St Thomas Becket.  As such, for the modern day visitor, it is possible to visit a candle which marks the place St Thomas Becket’s shrine was situated (with some stunning windows behind). Surrounding the Shrine is the tomb of King Henry IV and his wife; and the Black Prince. 

It is also possible to visit a modern sculpture marking the spot of St Thomas Becket's martyrdom. It was installed in 1986, and the dramatic sculpture represents four swords for the four knights (two metal swords with reddened tips and their two shadows). The design is the work of Giles Blomfield of Truro. 

Before the sculpture was installed, Saint Pope John Paul II knelt and prayed with the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1982 and a plaque (see above) can be seen here. 

In addition to places associated with Saint Thomas Beckett, the visitor can see the tombs of King Henry IV of England; the great medieval hero, the Black Prince; and various tombs of some Archbishop’s of Canterbury - plus much more. As a small aside: King Henry IV's son, King Henry V had two Carmelite friars as confessors during his reign: Stephen Patrington and Thomas Netter.

King Henry IV and Queen Joan of Navarre (through the bars, you can see the candle for St Thomas Becket)
Canterbury Cathedral is one of the most beautiful places to visit for prayer and peace – we highly recommend a visit if you are in Faversham. Please do let the Cathedral know that you were at the Shrine of Saint Jude - and they will let you in as pilgrims. I always think it very surprising (but often very true), how peaceful cathedrals are - and they serve as a great opportunity to be proud of our Christian heritage.

Next time on this blog, I will be writing about Saint Augustine’s Abbey, once again in this great city and another important pilgrimage site.

Let us pray (taken from the Roman Missal):

O God, for the sake of whose Church the glorious Bishop Thomas fell by the sword of ungodly men: grant, we beseech Thee, that all who implore his aid, may obtain the good fruit of his petition. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.

Matt Betts, Shrine of Saint Jude

Photo of Canterbury Cathedral is from Wikipedia; all other photos taken by Matt Betts.