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Celebrating Our Lady of Mount Carmel at Aylesford
03 August 2012

On Sunday 15th July 2012 Aylesford Priory ('The Friars') in Kent hosted its annual pilgrimage in honour of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, combined with the 'Day for the Carmelite Family'. The Prior Provincial's Delegate to the Carmelite Third Order Secular, Mr. John Berry, reports:

The rain, which had been a persistent feature of the previous two months, held off for the whole of the day as pilgrims arrived to celebrate the vigil of the Solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Pilgrims gathered at the shrine.

The theme for the day was 'The Sound of Silence'. The event opened with a Gathering Service of reflections and hymns interspersed with silence. There was also a very interesting personal reflection from Third Order Carmelite Sylvia Lucas about how she manages to find stillness and silence within a busy lifestyle.

Sylvia Lucas (left) at Aylesford with fellow Lay Carmelite Dot Wade
from the 'Carmel in the City' Carmelite Spirituality Group in London.

Just before pilgrims adjourned for lunch the Prior of Aylesford, Fr. Brendan Grady, O.Carm., invited everyone to find a space during the afternoon to be still in God’s presence and reflect on the following points: What helps or hinders you as you seek to rest in God? What invitation is God giving you today? We were then invited to share our prayer / reflection with someone else during the day and to visit the Peace Garden and / or Rosary Way.

Fr. Brendan Grady addressing pilgrims.

After lunch there was an inspiring talk from Fr. Joseph Chalmers, O.Carm., on the theme 'Mary and Silence'. This was followed by an opportunity for sharing.

Fr. Joseph Chalmers addressing pilgrims.

The Eucharist was celebrated at 3.30pm, presided over by Fr. Damian Cassidy, O.Carm.

Fr. Damian Cassidy incensing the altar at Mass.

During the Mass of Our Lady of Mount Carmel a member of the Aylesford Third Order Chapter, Michael Price, made his First Profession of Promises.

Anne Hayden, leader of the Aylesford Chapter of the Carmelite Third Order, looks on as Michael Price made his profession of promises before John Berry (right), witnessed on behalf of the Church by Fr. Damian.

Following a centuries-old rite Michael made his profession into the hands of
the Prior Provincial's Delagate.

The offertory gifts were brought to the altar by children
making their First Holy Communion.

Pilgrims at prayer.

The distribution of Holy Communion.

  A music group helped to lead worship.

At the conclusion of Mass, pilgrims were given a peace candle and asked to remember in their prayers the 100 Days of Peace initiative being led by the London Catholic Dioceses of Westminster, Southwark and Brentwood, which began on 8th June (50 days before the opening of the Olympics) and will end on 28th October (50 days after the closing ceremony of the Paralympics). The candles were distributed to pilgrims by a group of children who had made their first communion earlier in the day.

Peace candles being distributed.

Members of the Aylesford Third Order Chapter took part in the celebrations.

A 'Day for the Carmelite Family' will also be held in Carlisle on 15th September.