Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Thoughts from the Chaplain: Christmas

The Bible is full of people whose names are not even recorded.  These un-named ones are our reminder that not only does God know our world, He has lived in it. He was involved with ordinary individuals.

Let us look at a two of them. In the school nativity nobody wants to play the innkeeper. They’d rather be a shepherd, or even a sheep.  After all the innkeeper was trying to make a profit out of the Roman census to make up for what the Romans had cost him.  And then came this couple, and it was hard for even him to turn them away, tired, bedraggled, and anxious as they were, a young woman, far from her home and pregnant. How could you? So you took this couple to the safest, most secure place you had… the stable where you kept the animals.  You could now sleep peacefully knowing that your pockets were full, your Inn was crowded, and you had not turned away a young family in distress. However, during the night a star appears and before you know it the stable is full of shepherds and angels and wise men.

Amazing how time and situation make some people so very important? Here is a character we will never forget; he was the one who assured us that Jesus would be born in a stable and make His first bed in a feed box.  Luckily he did this because how would anyone like to be known through history as the one who said, “There’s no room for the Messiah here!”
Another person in this wonderful story of grace is simply known as an angel.

God did not send an archangel to say that His son was to be born in Bethlehem; no it was just an ordinary angel that did the talking. Of course it doesn’t take a much for a group of shepherds to get excited. So maybe sending in an archangel might have pushed them over the edge. I think the reason God would pick an average, ordinary angel to deliver such startling news is easy to understand; so many of us are like those shepherds even on our best days, we’re not much more than average ordinary folks.

So, please, let us hear the message of these unnamed yet widely known characters whether they are an innkeeper, an angel, a shepherd or later one of the wise men. After all, this entire whole story about mangers, shepherds, and wise men is not so much about people who lived long ago and far away. No, these are stories about you and me, and a struggle to find a life that’s real, meaningful, and gives us a glimpse of the glory that’s waiting for us around the next bend in our journey to Jesus. So let us not be the one to say “sorry I have no room or time for you Jesus”, let us accept the word from an ordinary angel, and let us be like the shepherds and hurry to kneel at the manger which is the bed of Our Lord.

Fr Michael Manning, O.Carm.




Sunday, 21 December 2014

Thoughts from our Chaplain - Fourth Sunday of Advent

On the Advent journey to Christmas, the Fourth Sunday belongs to Mary. This is because Christmas, which celebrates the birth of Jesus, necessarily involves the motherhood of Mary. However, the story of that birth is reserved for Midnight Mass, while today's gospel tells us how Mary prepared for that wonderful starting with the Annunciation; that alone would probably shock anyone but Mary listens to the message, questions how it could come about and then accepts the will of God’s, allowing God to determine how she would be a mother.

If through the centuries Mary has captured the imagination of the world, it is in large measure because she faced the mystery of God and said, "Let what you have said be done unto me”. Even her greatest privilege as mother of the Saviour presupposes this radical trust and generosity. It's easy to ignore the mystery of God until the very end of life; it is also easy to live in fear of that mystery.

However, human life will never be really successful until we learn to embrace God's mystery with trust and confidence. Mary shows us how to do that and what wonderful results will follow. Although we know very little about the "historical" Mary, her symbolic presence is real and powerful. In her case, symbolic truth presupposes an historical person but it reveals the universal and perennial significance of that person. It is a truth that transcends such limitations as age, race and gender as it reveals the meaning of Mary, Virgin, symbol of hope and of course Mother.  From the early middle ages Mary has been depicted in white  and blue; the blue robe signifying heavenly grace but also hope and servitude (the handmaid of the Lord) and white representing her purity and her holiness.  In her role of Mother Mary symbolises compassion, nurturing but also fruitfulness and the willingness to suffer for her child. Mary is also for us Mother, willing to listen, support and intercede for us.

These are some of the ideas we can take with us as we celebrate this last Sunday before Christmas.

Have joyous and blessed Christmas.



Fr Michael Manning, O.Carm.




Saturday, 13 December 2014

Thoughts from our Chaplain - St John the Baptist

John the Baptist was at ease with his role in history. However, the Jews were confused so they sent priests and Levites to question John. They asked, "Who are you?" It was as if they couldn't figure out why the man could have such devotion to a cause they know nothing about. John simply told them, "I am not the Christ." When they asked him" Are you Elijah" and "Are you the prophet" he answered them simply: “I am not”.  In answer to their final question: “Well who are you?” he quoted the Isaiah message “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness. Make straight the way of the Lord." He was confident that he was on the right mission, that he was here ‘to make straight the way of the Lord.’ The one who is among you whom I am not worthy to serve.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if we were all like John the Baptist? He knew exactly why he was here.

During the season of Advent we all have a chance to become more like John the Baptist. This is a special time of the year; it's special because it is the anniversary of the coming of our Saviour. But are we aware that this is a special time of the year? Are we preparing to buy the trappings and tinsel of Christmas or are we preparing for His coming? John the Baptist knew it was a special time. He summed it all up when he said, "I baptise with water one is coming who will baptise with the Holy Spirit".

 Let us rejoice in this time of Advent, prepare ourselves to celebrate Christ’s birth; dedicated to "making straight the word of the Lord."

Fr Michael Manning, O.Carm.




Monday, 8 December 2014

Saint Jude Gift Shop - Christmas posting

The Saint Jude gift shop has a wide range of gifts for friends and family. With books, cards, and stocking-fillers, there is something for all friends of Saint Jude.

To be sure of delivery before Christmas please note the following dates (UK only):

2nd Class – Wednesday 17th December
1st Class & Courier – Friday 19th December

Please ensure that we have received your order by 2pm that day.

Orders can be placed online: http://tinyurl.com/perbzlo, or by phone on 01795 539214.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Monday, 1 December 2014

St Andrew, Patron Saint of Scotland

As the National Shrine of Saint Jude, we often remember British saints at our daily Mass. Today is the Feast Day of St Andrew, Patron Saint of Scotland and fellow Apostle to Saint Jude. 

The New Testament states that Andrew was the brother of Simon Peter. He was born in the village of Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee. Both he and his brother Peter were fishermen by trade, and Jesus called them to be his disciples by saying that he will make them "fishers of men". At the beginning of Jesus' public life, they occupied the same house at Capernaum.

Tradition states that Andrew was martyred by crucifixion at the city of Patras in Achaea, on the northern coast of the Peloponnese. A tradition developed that Andrew had been crucified on a cross of the form called Crux decussata (X-shaped cross, or "saltire"), now commonly known as a "Saint Andrew's Cross" — at his own request, as he deemed himself unworthy to be crucified on the same type of cross as Jesus had been.

About the middle of the 10th century, Andrew became the patron saint of Scotland. Several legends state that the relics of Andrew were brought by divine guidance from Constantinople to the place where the modern town of St Andrews stands today.

Like Saint Jude, Andrew was one of the first messengers of the Good News. At the Shrine, we thank him for that. 

St Andrew, pray for us. Saint Jude, pray for us.

We have a number of saints’ prayer cards that can be purchased from our Gift Shop.


With thanks to Wikipedia for some of the above information

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Thoughts from our Chaplain - First Sunday of Advent

How often does someone lose concentration or doze off whilst driving and only just manage to get control of the car before a fatal accident occurs?  Our spiritual life is like driving a car. We can be going about our business, attempting to live our faith, but taking things for granted. Warning signs are often ignored. And suddenly, we fall spiritually asleep, missing the opportunities the Lord provides for us to experience His Presence, His Love and Compassion. Sometimes we get so involved in what we are doing that we forget why we are doing it. Or we can be so determined to reach out to Christ in strangers and experience His Presence in those whom we do not know, that we ignore His Presence in our brother and sister, our parents or our children, and of course ourselves.

“Stay awake” is the theme for this First Sunday of Advent. The Master of the house is the Lord. His coming is at the end of our lives to determine our capacity to receive an infinite share of His love. If He comes and finds us ready and waiting, the door of our life truly open to His Presence, then we have nothing to worry about.

And so, we watch. We watch for the signs of the spiritual in our lives. We watch for the presence of Christ. Without the spiritual, our lives would be self-destructive. Without the spiritual we wander like the people of the first reading from Isaiah. They wandered aimlessly. They got themselves into all sorts of trouble. Possessions, selfishness, arrogance, all dominated their lives and destroyed them. A main theme of the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament, is that left to their own devices, people can become self-destructive.

And so we stay awake, and we watch. We watch for the Divine Healer to come and lead us into His Love. We watch for the times when God extends His Love to us. We watch for the times when we serve His Love by serving others. We watch for the opportunities to unite ourselves closer to His Love through prayer and sacrifice. We wait. We watch.

We long for Jesus’ presence. If we deny this need, this necessity for God to be in our lives, then we chance becoming useless shells, Christians on the outside which people see, but not much on the inside.  Advent is the season of hope. The promises of the prophets will be fulfilled; that the Messiah will come to return the world to God’s original plan. Our thirst for the Messiah will be quenched not just on 25 December, but every day of our lives.

We wait. We watch. We stay awake.

Fr Michael Manning, O.Carm.




Friday, 21 November 2014

Canonisation of Kuriakose Elias Chavara

On 23 November 2014, the Feast of Christ the King, Pope Francis will canonise six blesseds and inscribe them in the roll call of Saints. One of these will be the Carmelite priest: Kuriakose Elias Chavara. The National Shrine of Saint Jude has a beautiful icon of this future Saint (pictured).

In 2004 a fire broke out in the Shrine Chapel destroying the murals which once hung there and damaging much of the other artwork. Happily, the windows and ceramics could be repaired, but the murals had to be replaced.

The decision was made to install icons depicting saints inspired by the Carmelite Rule of Saint Albert, in commemoration of the 8th centenary of the Carmelite Rule in 2007. The icons were written by Sister Petra Clare, a Benedictine hermit living in Scotland.

Fr Chavara was a priest and the founder of the Congregation of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate. He is remembered for his solid leadership and is recognised for having saved the Church in Kerala from a schism in 1861.

Matt Betts








Thursday, 20 November 2014

Thoughts from our Chaplain - Christ the King

This Sunday, we will be celebrating the Feast of Christ the King. What comes into our minds when we hear the word King?  I always imagine a palace, the fine robes and the crown jewels, a royal court peopled by the rich and the good. I suspect that most people would think the same or similar. What about Christ the King?  His palace was a stable in Bethlehem; his fine robes were a used cloak thrown round his shoulders as the soldiers mocked him; his crown jewels were a twisted wreath of thorns; his court was a gathering of fishermen and tax collectors - the outcasts of society.

This is hardly what the people of Israel expected of their Messiah, as they flocked to him full of hopes and anticipation for the downfall of the Roman authorities.  Unfortunately they had totally misunderstood what this kingship of the Messiah was to be.  He was to be the ‘servant king’, the suffering servant of Isaiah and his kingdom was to be ‘not of this world’ (Jn 18:36).  He is to be a Shepherd King caring for his flock. He is to be a healing king, a pastor who searches for and finds his lost sheep. This is to be a king who is filled with compassion who is even willing to die for the welfare of his flock.  Unlike the king they expect, He takes the cloak, wears the thorns and arrayed in the jewel-like blood of his scourging, he walks to his destiny carrying the instrument of his death.

As we celebrate this Feast, maybe we can ask ourselves, each and every one of us, how can I follow this King?  Well the way He teaches is to be like Him, to be compassionate, to care for the needy, feed the hungry, clothe the poor, support the outcasts and stand up for those deprived of justice.  These are steps we take towards his Kingdom, by becoming each day, a little more Christ-like.

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




Monday, 17 November 2014

Help us through the Giving Machine this Christmas

Are you purchasing presents for your friends and family online? If so, you could help raise money for the National Shrine of Saint Jude and the Order of Carmelites every time you make a purchase – at no cost to you! All you need to do is sign up to our Giving Machine page, here, and add the National Shrine of Saint Jude as one of your beneficiaries. 

Or, alternatively, you can send us an email to newsletter@stjudeshrine.org.uk, and we'll do it for you!

You can then shop via the Giving Machine at any of the 400+ top on-line shops who have teamed up with them. Each of those shops then gives a donation to the Shrine, so we can support the Carmelites for many years to come. All those who join up with the Giving Machine and add the Shrine will be entered into a draw to win some gifts from the Shrine. Thank you

THANK YOU to our 44 friends who have already signed up!








Thursday, 6 November 2014

Thoughts from our Chaplain - Feast of Saint Jude

It is now a week since the Feast of Saint Jude, and at the Shrine we are more or less back to normal. This was my first Feast weekend since I came here in August, and I was very nervous about the whole thing.  What would happen if there was chaos and everything that could go wrong went wrong? However, I should not have worried, as I was to experience something quite special during the Feast.

At about 8.30 on Saturday morning, we gathered and made the final preparations for the day, which included lighting all the 700+ candles that had been pre-ordered to be burnt over the feast days. Hardly had we finished this, and the first pilgrim groups started to arrive. A few cars; followed by a mini bus; followed by coaches, and soon the Shrine, church and ground were full of pilgrims coming to pay their respects to Saint Jude, asking for intercessions through their petitions.

Threading my way through the Carmel Hall and talking to people as I went, I was suddenly made aware of the importance of Saint Jude in people's lives. It is very easy to think and talk about the devotion people have for a particular saint and to dismiss it as meeting a particular psychological need or some sort of lack of theological maturity. Spend time at a pilgrimage site such as the National Shrine of Saint Jude during such celebrations, and you will see the fallacy of such an attitude. Bringing our needs to Saint Jude is an expression of one of the oldest traditions in the Church; that of intercession to God. It has nothing to do with 'worshipping' the particular saint, but a recognition of the intercession of that saint.

Saint Jude travelled with Jesus and the rest of the disciples, and heard first-hand the teachings of our Lord. He heard Jesus insist that the law was part of the compassionate love of God, which was expressed so deeply in His covenant with His people. This teaching of Good News Saint Jude made his life's work and passed it on to those he met. Confident in this we turn to Jude and ask him to intercede for us out of and through this intimate relationship he has to his kinsman Jesus.

Over this weekend I saw countless examples of this confidence in Saint Jude, and listened to the stories of prayers. This is what I take with me as I reflect on the Feast weekend.

May Saint Jude continue to intercede for all of us with our living God.

In Carmel, 

Fr Michael Manning, O.Carm.




Saturday, 1 November 2014

Photo of the month - November 2014


God the Father - a stained glass window in the Shrine.

The stained glass windows were installed about 1957 and were also executed by Richard Joseph King. This series of windows can be compared to similar windows made for the Church of Swinford in Mayo in the 1950s. The artist also did a picture of Our Lady of Mount Carmel for the Carmelite Church in Aberystwyth.

The hand of God raised in blessing with the sceptre across his left shoulder. He is surrounded by rays. God is presented as a King, but also with a cloud or halo in the shape of a triangle, traditional symbols of God the Father and of the Trinity. Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end are seen on the left. The Father created the earth and water, moon and stars, Adam and Eve. Moses and the Ten Commandments. The serpent and the cross may be a reference to the bronze serpent on the staff of the time of Moses, and to the Garden of Eden as shown by Adam and Eve and the tree of knowledge. It also refers to Christ overcoming evil. Water is seen coming from the rock, again a reference to Moses. There are links between the Old and the New Testament. The artist has used reds and pinks especially in the garments of God.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Feast of Saint Jude celebrations - 2014 - Thank you

Thank you to all those who visited us during the Feast celebrations - it was great to see you all.

Hundreds of pilgrims attended each of the three Saint Jude Celebration days. Pilgrims lit candles, took part in Masses, were anointed with St. Jude's Oil, and venerated a relic of the Apostle.

© Johan Bergström-Allen / www.carmelite.org
More photos of the weekend can be viewed here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gbcarmelite/sets/72157648949763836

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Congratulations, Father Paul

Fr Paul con-celebrating his first Mass with Fr Tony Lester (Prior Provincial) and Archbishop Peter Smith (Southwark)
At the weekend, our brother Paul Jenkins was ordained priest by Archbishop Peter Smith at Aylesford Priory. Please keep him in your prayers. The photo below shows Fr Paul at his first concelebrated Mass at his ordination. 

THANK YOU to all the supporters of the National Shrine of Saint Jude who have made Paul's training possible. It is YOUR support, through your donations and prayers, which enable the Carmelites to minister in Britain and beyond. GOD BLESS YOU FOR YOUR GENEROSITY. If you would like to help us further, please visit our online shop (http://tinyurl.com/perbzlo) where you can purchase gifts from the Shrine, or you can make a donation. THANK YOU.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Simple Profession of Brother James

Last month, the British Province came together to attend the Simple Profession of Brother James Hinchcliffe at Aylesford. James has recently completed a year in Salamanca, Spain. James has recently completed a year in Salamanca, Spain. 

It was a really joyful occasion, celebrated by Fr Antony Lester, O.Carm - the Prior Provincial, and was one of hope and thanksgiving. At the National Shrine of Saint Jude, we are keeping James in our prayers for his ministry to the church, and for the next few years of his training.

THANK YOU to all the supporters of the National Shrine of Saint Jude who have made James' training possible. It is YOUR support, through your donations and prayers, which enable the Carmelites to minister in Britain and beyond. GOD BLESS YOU FOR YOUR GENEROSITY. If you would like to help us further, please visit our online shop where you can purchase gifts from the Shrine, or you can make a donation. THANK YOU.







Monday, 13 October 2014

St Edward the Confessor

As the National Shrine of Saint Jude, we often remember British saints at our daily Mass. Today is the Feast Day of St Edward the Confessor, who was King of England.

St Edward the Confessor was born in 1003, and was the son of Ethelred the Unready and his Norman wife Emma. He was educated at Ely and then whilst in exile in Normandy,  while two Scandinavian kings claimed the English throne in succession.

He became king of England in 1042, the last of the old Anglo-Saxon line; his death precipitated the Norman invasion of 1066. Commonly known as the 'Confessor', he was regarded as a saint during his lifetime, renowned for his generosity to the Church and to the poor, and because of the readiness with which he listened to his subject's grievances. His relics were translated on this day in 1163 to a new shrine in Westminster Abbey, which foundation he had richly endowed and expanded.

St Edward once made a vow to go on pilgrimage to Rome, but it became difficult for him to keep this promise. Therefore, the Pope released him from his obligation, under the condition that he would restore and or build an Abbey dedicated to St Peter. An ancient abbey in Westminster was already dedicated to St Peter and in need of restoration, so to fulfil his promise to the Pope, St Edward rebuilt what is now known as Westminster Abbey.

On 28 December 1065, Edward's new abbey church was consecrated at Westminster. One week later he was dead.  Nothing remains of the original building, as it was demolished in the thirteenth century. Edward the Confessor's tomb remains well preserved - one of the few mediaeval shrines to survive the Reformation. If you are ever in London, it is well worth a visit.

At least 17 churches are dedicated to him in the UK, and he is depicted in numerous stained glass windows and church carvings - notably at Westminster Abbey, Trinity College Cambridge, York Minster, and at the local Anglican church in Faversham. 
St Edward the Confessor, pray for us. 
We have a number of saints prayer cards that can be purchased from our Gift Shop.

Tomb of St Edward the Confessor

Friday, 10 October 2014

Thoughts from our Chaplain - Compassion

This Sunday is the churches day for prisoners, a time when we especially remember prisoners and their families and friends.  This day of prayer is aimed at those who are actually confined in prison for whatever reason but this of course is not the only sort of imprisonment.

Countless people are imprisoned or trapped by their family situation, their financial state; trapped in work which is not fulfilling but is essential to support them.  Others feel imprisoned in health circumstances or a multitude of mental illnesses which unfortunately also bring with them prejudices of various sorts.

Our Lord, in his journey through Palestine would have come across many people who would fit into these categories and as we read so often in the gospels he ‘felt compassion’ for them.  Often this word compassion is understood as sympathy which in some degree is correct.  But the meaning is actually a lot more powerful than just sympathy, important as this may be.  It needs to be looked at as two parts: ‘com’, from the Latin prefix cum or with and secondly ‘passion’ from the Latin passus which is related to the English word ‘Patient’ or the one who suffers from patiens

So we can see that the compassion which Jesus felt for those in need was not just sympathy but of being with those who suffer.  One way to look at this is to remember when we use the word Passion.  It is the suffering of Jesus as he goes to the cross to die for us.  This can give us some idea of the intensity of the term compassion when we read it in the gospels.  Paul, in the second letter to the Corinthians, describes God as the ‘Father of compassion and the God of all comfort’ (2 Corinthians 1:3-7). 

Experiencing compassion and giving comfort this is what Christ calls us to as Christian people.  Let us remember this as we celebrate our Mass this weekend.

Fr Michael Manning, O.Carm.


Thursday, 2 October 2014

Photo of the month - October 2014


A portrait of Fr. Elias Lynch, O.Carm.
The photo above is of Fr Elias Lynch, O.Carm who founded the National Shrine of Saint Jude.

The development of Faversham into a centre of devotion to St. Jude arose out of the work of the Carmelite Press.

The Press (which today has been superseded by Saint Albert's Press) was founded in 1938 to support the work of the Carmelite friars, then only recently re-established in England after a gap of four hundred years. The Press printed a newsletter, Carmelite News, which kept supporters of the friars in touch with their developments at Faversham and across the country. Carmelite News is still sent out to Saint Jude supporters today.

In the early 1950s Fr. Elias received an increasing number of requests from readers of Carmelite News for prayer cards of St. Jude. Having distributed such a card, donations to "The Shrine of St. Jude" and requests for prayers started flooding in. Such a shrine did not exist, but perceiving the need Fr. Elias quickly developed a place of prayer and devotion to the Apostle Jude alongside the parish church in Faversham.

On 28th October 1955, the Bishop of Southwark Cyril Cowderoy, assisted by the Prior General of the Carmelite Order, the Prior of Aylesford, and many other priests and religious, dedicated the Shrine of St Jude. Bishop Cyril described the shrine as "a jewel for the diocese".

If you would like to subscribe to Carmelite News, you can do so, here.



Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Feast of Saint Jude celebrations 2014

The Feast celebrations are taking place on: 25, 26 & 28 October 2014

The feast weekend is the highpoint of the calendar in Faversham, and hundreds of pilgrims come here in devotion to the Apostle. Although most come from London and the southeast, many others come from across Britain and even from abroad to celebrate this special time with God and with one another, in the company of the Carmelites.

The programme of activities during the feast includes regular celebrations of the Eucharist, blessings with the oil of St. Jude, and other devotions. During the celebrations there is a piety stall, a display of Carmelite books, and light refreshments available.

If you are bringing a group of more than 10 people to Faversham for any of the feast celebrations, it is very important that you please contact the Shrine Office in advance so that we have an idea of numbers and can let you know details for coach parking etc. You can contact us on shrineoffice@stjudeshrine.org.uk

The programme is as follows:

Saturday 25 October
12.00 - Saint Jude Mass
14.00 - Saint Jude Mass
16.00 - Devotions with Blessing of Oil and Anointing

Sunday 26 October
12.30 - Saint Jude Mass with the Blessing of Oil and Anointing
14.30 - Saint Jude Mass with the Blessing of Oil and Anointing
16.30 - Guild of Saint Jude talk (Guild members only)

Tuesday 28 October
12.00 - Saint Jude Mass with the Blessing of Oil and Anointing
15.00 - Saint Jude Mass with the Blessing of Oil and Anointing
19.30 - Saint Jude Mass with the Blessing of Oil and Anointing

Plus.. meet some friars, purchase items from the shop, light a candle, and pray and leave intentions at the Shrine.

If you cannot attend, you can purchase a candle via our online shop. Your candle will be lit during the Feast weekend.

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




Sunday, 28 September 2014

Novena to the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary

The following novena recently published in Carmelite News and from the National Shrine of Saint Jude is for the nine days leading up to the Feast of the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary.

You can pray the novena in private, with your friends or family, or in a group. The novena starts on Monday 28 September and continues until 7 October 2014.

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

O God, whose only begotten Son,
by his death and resurrection,
has gained for us the rewards of eternal life,
grant we beseech you
that we who meditate on the mysteries
of the Most Holy Rosary
of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
may imitate what they contain,
and obtain what they promise.
Through Christ our Lord.

Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, pray for us.
That we may be worthy
of the promises of Christ.

Our Lady statue outside the Shrine of Saint Jude
You can also view this novena, here.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Welcome to our chaplain - Part 2

Fr Michael Manning, O.Carm joined the National Shrine of Saint Jude as Chaplain last month. Here he tells us a bit about himself:

“I was born, brought up and schooled in Cambridge. After school, my first job was in the hotel industry, where I lived and worked at the Blue Boar Inn, Cambridge. After a few years there, I eventually left Cambridge in 1973 moving to Germany to work for the American part of NATO. I lived in Germany for eighteen  years, but as time went on, I was starting to discern for a new journey.

In 1984 I became a Catholic and this was followed by a term of discernment to discover what God was asking of me. I joined the Benedictines for four years, but this did not work out, and I left before solemn vows spending the next two years avoiding discernment and the call back to religious life. However through a colleague, I discovered the Carmelite Order and Aylesford.

I became a novice of the Order on 7 September 1991 in Aylesford. As part of the formation as a Carmelite Friar you undertake a grounding in Carmelite spirituality and the history of the order, followed by studies appropriate to your future role in the order.  For my first few years, I was based in the English Martyrs church and obtained a Diploma in Pastoral Theology from Heythrop college, moving then to the Missionary Institute, London armed with a degree in Theology.  I was ordained a Deacon in English Martyrs, Walworth.

My first appointment was to St Winfried’s in Aberystwyth and on 9th June 1999 on the feast of St Columba, I was ordained a Priest, in Borth, just outside Aberystwyth. The parish had never had an ordination in their 125 years which they celebrated in 1999, so it was a double occasion. After ministering in Aberystwyth, I then moved to York as Chaplain to the University for three years taking on the ministry of Fr Tony Lester who had been elected Prior Provincial.

Many people who visit the National Shrine of Saint Jude will already know me from Aylesford, where I moved to next. I was in Aylesford for a number of years ministering to pilgrims, guests and community as well as developing a liking for retreat ministry both in Aylesford and further afield.

Outside my work in the Order, I am an enthusiastic historian and an “amateur art historian” as well as a member of the National Trust. I am looking forward to discovering some of the National Trust properties in this part of Kent.

Thank you to everyone for the welcome I have received since arriving here in Faversham. I am looking forward to meeting you all.  Be assured of my prayers for you before Saint Jude and I would ask the same of you."



Thursday, 4 September 2014

Thoughts from our Chaplain - First views of our Shrine

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


Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Pilgrims always welcome

Last week, Fr Michael (our chaplain) welcomed a group of pilgrims to the National Shrine of Saint Jude. Our photo below shows the pilgrims enjoying table fellowship whilst here. 



Pilgrims to the National Shrine of Saint Jude are always welcome to visit. Please contact the Shrine office if you would like to bring a group.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Photo of the month - September 2014

The Kossowski ceramic depicting the martyrdom of Saint Jude

Within the outer shrine there are the three ceramic plaques in the Outer Shrine area including one of the martyrdom of St. Jude. St. Jude is traditionally depicted with a club in his hand. This stems from the tradition that he was clubbed to death for his fidelity to Christ. The ceramic depicts this moment of human brutality - perhaps this is a moment for prayer for those in the modern world who suffer the same fate for their beliefs? 

Why not say the the following prayer to Saint Jude?

Glorious apostle, martyr and relative of Jesus, Saint Jude Thaddeus, who spread the Good News among distant nations; who won to the obedience of Jesus Christ many peoples by the power of his Holy Word; grant, I beseech you, from this day, that I may renounce every sinful habit, that I may be preserved from all evil thoughts, that I may love my neighbour as myself, that I may always obtain your assistance, particularly in every danger and difficulty, and that I may safely reach the heavenly country, with you, to adore the most Holy Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Feast of Blessed Isidore Bakanja

Happy Feast of Blessed Isidore Bakanja. At the National Shrine of Saint Jude, we have a beautiful icon of this holy man (see below).

Blessed Isidore Bakanja was born in 1888 in a fishing community in the Congo. He was baptised on 6 May 1906 and from that day he wore faithfully the Carmelite scapular.

He was working in a plantation run by a colonialist who did not want Christianity to be spread. By wearing the scapular and showing everyone his faith, Blessed Isidore was flogged several times. In 1909, the superintendent of the business tore off the scapular and severely beat him. He died on 15 August 1909 as a result of the wounds inflicted in "punishment" for his faith and which he bore patiently while forgiving his aggressor.

He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 24 April 1994.







Monday, 11 August 2014

Green Pilgrimage to Canterbury - 3 October

***Update: If you are joining us, please arrive at the Shrine for 8.30am***

The National Shrine of Saint Jude are very pleased to announce that we are going to take part in a Green Pilgrimage on 3 October 2014. 

The Green Pilgrimage Network (GPN) is an initiative of the Communities and Partnerships Framework of the Diocese of Canterbury.   The Diocese joined the GPN last year, and is now developing an ecumenical partnership and associated action plan to highlight all the pilgrim places and ways in the Diocese, which exist alongside Canterbury Cathedral.  The GPN is a “global network of pilgrim cities and sacred sites around the world intending to be models of green action and care. The vision is that pilgrims, and the places that host them, will be cleaner, greener, and leave a positive footprint on the earth.” There are over 20 places in the GPN, worldwide and many of the world’s major faiths are part of this network.

Catherine Lloyd, Green Pilgrimage Network Project Officer said “We are delighted to be working with the National Shrine of St Jude in Faversham, as one of the many pilgrim places in Kent and the Diocese of Canterbury.  The Shrine is a good example of a modern sacred site, that has developed more recently, and which we are keen to promote alongside more historic routes and pilgrim destinations.  We look forward to greeting people making a “mini-pilgrimage” from Faversham as part of the GPN Canterbury Partnership launch on 3rd October.”

Fr Michael Manning, chaplain to the Shrine said, "This is all very exciting and we are looking forward to taking part in October. The National Shrine of Saint Jude is very proud to be part of this Green Pilgrimage Network".

The GPN partnership is using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the events around the launch and the associated Pilgrimage Weekend taking place in Canterbury  on 3-5th October, and are encouraging everyone who has photos, short videos, anecdotes, prayers and experiences to share to post them tagging with  #canpilgrim, so that they can all be gathered together online and shared.  

The National Shrine of Saint Jude would love to hear from you if you're interested in joining us on this special day. Please let the Shrine office know via shrineoffice@stjudeshrine.org.uk or 01795 539 214.

If you join an annual pilgrimage, we would love to hear about it, or even if you make a particular journey for personal reasons – in memory of a loved one perhaps – it would be good to hear your story, if you don’t mind sharing it of course! 

tag,  #canpilgrim on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram




Friday, 8 August 2014

Welcome to our new chaplain

This week, we welcomed our new chaplain to the National Shrine of Saint Jude: Fr Michael Manning, O.Carm. Fr Michael was born in Cambridge and has been a friar of the Carmelite Order since 1991. He is a familiar face at Aylesford where he has been ministering to the pilgrims for a number of years. We now welcome Fr Michael to the Shrine of St Jude, where he is looking forward to meeting you all.

Fr Michael's predecessor, Fr Piet is the Parish Priest for the church attached to the Shrine. We would like to thank Fr Piet very much for all his hard work, kindness, prayers, and love that he has shown all our pilgrims. Fr Piet is looking forward to seeing pilgrims at the Feast celebrations in October. 

We will be producing a full interview with Fr Michael in the next week. 

Fr Michael Manning looking at one of our statues of Saint Jude


Monday, 4 August 2014

Prayer for peace

To mark the centenary of Britain's entry into the First World War, we have lit a candle at the Shrine for the Fallen. Today, the Archbishop of Canterbury (our neighbour) said on Radio 4: "Never again, the slogan after so many wars, requires us to say yes to the words of Jesus who tells us that love for our enemies is in fact the only way to eliminate them. We make them our friends – and change our world forever." Let us pray for peace in the world.


Friday, 1 August 2014

Thoughts from our Chaplain - Go for the goal!

When I was the Parish Priest in Aberystwyth I came across a book with the title “Faith for the Future – a new illustrated catechism.”  It was based on the New Catechism of the Catholic Church, but much more readable. In order to get a greater understanding of the faith I recommended it to young couple getting married and young couples coming to have their first baby baptised. It had of course the old creed etc. and therefore became out of date once the new liturgy of the Mass was introduced. Unfortunately it has never been updated.

Recently the Redemptorist Publication sent round a leaflet on “Your Faith – a popular presentation of Catholic belief”. The leaflet states, “Your Faith presents the fundamental truths of the Catholic faith in a simple and popular way. It has been completely revised and updated with beautiful images and illustrations to link faith with daily life”.

On 31 July, we commemorated St Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), the founder of the Jesuits. After a deep conversion from military service he dedicated himself competed to Jesus. He could be quite radical. We read in Magnificat. “Thus as far as we are concerned, we should not want health more than illness, wealth more than poverty, fame more than disgrace, a long life more than a short one…, but we should desire and choose only what helps us more towards the end for which we were created”.

I’m sure “Your faith” can assist us with that.  

Fr Piet Wijngaard, O.Carm.






Photo of the month - August 2014


The reliquary which stands in the inner shrine is known as the Augsberg Reliquary. It is a modern copy of a silver monstrance dated 1547, and it has been modified to display the relic, a bone fragment, of St. Jude. The veneration of relics raises all kinds of questions in the modern world.

To read an excellent text about relics by the eminent Carmelite theologian Fr. Christopher O'Donnell, O.Carm., please view here.






Wednesday, 30 July 2014

811 "likes" on Facebook

Our Facebook friends are all amazing! We now have 811 likes on our page - thank you to everyone for supporting us!  

For reaching this milestone, we have ten prize winners!

CONGRATULATIONS to the following winners: 
Kate Atkin
Hashan Chathuranga
Percy Griffiths
James Harkins
Maureen Hurst
Sasi Kethi
Beverley Parry
Jaque Russell
Sam Sundar
Michael Tannion

Please can you all send us your postal address to newsletter@stjudeshrine.org.uk and we'll then send you your gift.

Thank you to all our Facebook, Twitter and Google + friends. We will pray for you at the Shrine.


Matt Betts

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Thoughts from our Chaplain - “Pray for us sinners!”

If the 27th July hadn’t fallen this year on a Sunday, we would have celebrated the feast of the Dutch Carmelite Blessed Titus Brandsma.

I have written about him before, but as many of my brethren have recourse to pray to him on my behalf, I like to recall his life, especially his latter days.

He was born in Bolsward (Holland) in 1881 on a Frisian farm, he entered the Carmelite Order and was ordained 1905. He obtained a doctorate in philosophy, lectured (including mysticism) at the Nijmegen University, stood up for the freedom of the press and opposed the Nazis for their treatment of the Jews. He was arrested in 1942 and was killed in Dachau.

Whilst at Dachau he reached out to fellow prisoners, was always friendly to and prayed for his brutal guards and made a deep impression on the nurse, Titia, who gave him the fatal injection in the infirmary block. In her testimony she said that she wanted to speak about him, because he had helped her so much. “Titus asked me how I came to work in this place. Once he took my hand and said ‘What a poor girl you are, I pray much for you.’ He also gave me his rosary, but I said that I couldn’t pray. He replied, ‘Pray then at least the last words: pray for us sinners’. I laughed.


Instead of laughing, let us say then, because we are sinners – at least I am!

Fr Piet Wijngaard, O.Carm.




Sunday, 20 July 2014

Fifty years on..

Congratulations to Fr Wilfrid McGreal who celebrated 50 years of priestly ministry today. Fr Wilfrid is the current Prior at Faversham. He has written the following thoughts for our blog:

"Fifty years of priestly ministry is hard to take in, its a lifetime and a time of change personally, in the world at large and in the life of the church. I was ordained towards the end of Vatican II, and in fact as a student in Rome, the Vatican council was already shaping life. Pope John XXIII was opening the windows and giving the Holy Spirit freedom. The Council also had a significant impact on the Carmelite Order by helping us return to our origins and become a family of sisters and brothers."

"Fifty years on, some of the promise of Council seems to have been lost. However, Pope Francis with his humanity and his joy of the Gospel brings hope. The world at large is radically changed and with amazing news of communication enables the Gospel to touch more and more people. The great sadness is the resort to violence as we try to solve problems by force and intolerance. We need to turn swords into ploughs."

Fr Wilfrid McGreal



Saturday, 19 July 2014

Thoughts from our Chaplain - With you and for you!

If the 20 July hadn’t fallen on a Sunday this year, we would have been celebrating the Solemnity of the prophet Elijah. All the same I like to write a few words about him.

He is one of the two main pillars of Carmelite Spirituality, the other one being Our Lady. It is interesting that at the moment in the Office of Reading we have the stories about his life, especially his struggles with King Ahab and his foreign wife, Jezebel. He introduced her religion, the worship of Baal. Elijah told him that because of this there would be a drought in the land. He reprimanded them very severely about killing their neighbour Naboth in order to take over his vineyard. And then of course there was the famous contest on Mount Carmel between himself and the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah. Elijah won but had to flee for his life because Jezebel was determined to kill him. It is then that God reveals himself to him in the gentle breeze or the still small voice.

The Dutch Carmelite spiritual writer Kees Waaijman describes God and also Elijah as “wezer”, i.e. someone who is with the people and for the people.


This Sunday we are celebrating Fr Wilfrid’s Golden Jubilee of Priestly Ordination. We wish him many more happy years. In his case as with everyone of us might it especially be a case of being with and for God’s people.      

Fr Piet Wijngaard, O.Carm.





Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Saint Jude's Burse - 2014 Grand Draw

The draw took place at 3pm today. The tickets were drawn by Fr Wilfrid Mcgreal, former Prior Provincial of the British Province. All winners will be advised soon, and a list of winners will go up on the website in the next week. Thank you to everyone who took part. All proceeds go towards the Shrine and the work of the Carmelites in Britain and worldwide.

The winners were:

1st prize, £1000: Mrs Morrison (County Mayo, Ireland)
2nd prize, £250: Ann Sheil (Birmingham)

Runners up prizes: K McKedditt (County Down); A Tuohy (County Clare); Julia White (Woodford Green); Ameila D’Souza (Bexleyheath); Mr & Mrs Frain (Westbury on Trym, Bristol); J Hassett (Gloucester); Lindsay Betsy (Canterbury); Leonora Long (Bishops Stortford); Eliz McCormack (Glasgow); Charlie Tobin (Ealing London); D Godfrey (Newcastle-Upon-Tyne); Buckley Family (Coventry); W McBrearty (Paisley); Marie Reardon (Belfast); K Appletton (Rossendale); Forello Moffo   (London); T MaGee (London); Mary Adussa (Croydon); Louis Cecile (London); M C Brady (County Durham).