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Diamond Jubilee Celebrations Begin at Shrine of Saint Jude
07 June 2015

The Diamond Jubilee (60th anniversary) commemorations of The National Shrine of Saint Jude at Faversham began with a Summer Celebration on Saturday 30th May 2015.

The Prior Provincial of the British Province of Carmelites, Fr. Antony Lester, O.Carm., welcomed a number of VIPs, including the Mayor and Mayoress of Faversham, Councillor Nigel A. Kay and Mrs Anne Kay.

The National Shrine of Saint Jude at Faversham in Kent, England, is looked after by the Carmelite Friars. A major centre of pilgrimage and prayer, it attracts thousands of pilgrims every year, especially around the Feast of St. Jude on 28th October, and the Summer Celebration in May.

The Carmelite Priory, Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel,
and National Shrine of Saint Jude at Faversham

The weather was kind and the Shrine welcomed over three hundred pilgrims, who began the Summer Celebration with a special service of Devotions to Saint Jude, Apostle and Kinsman of Christ.

The Church was full for the Devotions to St. Jude.

The Shrine Chaplain, Fr. Michael Manning, O.Carm., welcoming pilgrims.

Carmelite friar Fr. Francis Kemsley leading the Novena to St. Jude.

Fr. Michael blessing the Oil of St. Jude with a relic of the Apostle.

Pilgrims being anointed with the Oil of St. Jude.

The Oil of St. Jude is a sign of pilgrims' prayers for God's blessing.

A pilgrim being blessed with the Oil of St. Jude.

On arrival the Mayor of Faversham and other VIPs were taken on a tour of the Church and Shrine by Fr. Wilfrid McGreal, O.Carm., Prior of the Carmelites in Faversham.

Fr. Wilfrid (left) explaining the history of the Shrine
to the Mayor of Faversham (right)

The VIP group on its tour of the National Shrine.

The Mayor and other VIPs entering the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Fr. Wilfrid pointing out the artistic features of the Church.

Fr. Wilfrid recounted the history of the Shrine, which arose out of the work of The Carmelite Press. The Press printed a newsletter, Carmelite News, which kept supporters of the friars in touch with their developments at Faversham and across Britain. Carmelite News became an important communication link between the Order and its supporters and is still sent out every quarter. The work of Carmelite News was supervised by the Prior of Faversham, Fr. Elias Lynch, O.Carm., who along with his brothers Malachy and Kilian was influential in the refounding of the Carmelite Order in Britain.

Fr. Wilfrid pointing out the icons of Carmelite saints at the National Shrine.

Fr. Wilfrid spoke to the Mayor and visitors about the Shrine and how
the Carmelite News maintains contact with over 20,000 devotees of St. Jude.

The Mayor of Faversham was interested to learn that the founder of the National Shrine of St. Jude, Fr Elias Lynch, had also sat on the town council for a number of years.

Fr. Wilfrid spoke of his own early memories of visiting Faversham.

The group admiring the portrait of Fr. Elias Lynch, O.Carm., founder of the Shrine.

The National Shrine of St. Jude and Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

After a picnic lunch pilgrims were welcomed by
the Shrine's Development Manager, Mr. Matt Betts.

A young pilgrim admires the Mayor's chain of office.

In the afternoon of 30th May a Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated in the grounds of the Shrine by the Prior Provincial of the British Province, Fr. Antony Lester, O.Carm.

Fr. Tony welcoming pilgrims.

  Pilgrims at prayer in the Shrine grounds.

  Pilgrims listening to the Word of God being proclaimed at Mass.

Fr. Michael Manning proclaiming the Gospel.

Father Tony thanked all the pilgrims who have visited the Shrine and supported the work of the Carmelites since 1955. He noted that the international Carmelite Order has been very proud of the work of the Shrine, the Carmelite community, lay staff and volunteers over the last sixty years.

Fr. Tony preaching during the Mass of Thanksgiving.

Pilgrims at prayer in the grounds of the National Shrine.

The Mass was followed by a procession past the beautiful sixteenth-century statue of Saint Jude at the heart of the Shrine.

Pilgrims processing through the grounds to the Shrine.

The Mayor and Mayoress with Carmelite friars and visiting clergy.

Pilgrims had the opportunity to venerate a relic of St. Jude.

Pilgrims venerating the relic of St. Jude.

Pilgrims from London and beyond posed for a group photograph.

The Mayor and Mayoress in conversation with friars and National Shrine staff.

Fr. Tony sharing stories of the National Shrine with the Mayor of Faversham.

The Mayor and other VIPs (including members of The Guild of Saint Jude) then enjoyed a drinks reception in the Saint Jude Welcome Centre. The Mayor was invited to say a few words by Mr. Matt Betts, the Shrine's Development Manager. The Mayor thanked the Carmelite Order for their invitation to attend the Summer Celebration at the National Shrine, which he called a "hidden jewel" in Faversham. The Mayor said he was very proud to know that the Shrine was continuing the long history of pilgrimages to the Kent area since the Middle Ages.

The Mayor congratulating the Carmelites on the Diamond Jubilee of the Shrine.

Fr. Tony thanking the Mayor and town of Faversham for their support of the Shrine.

Father Michael Manning, O.Carm., Shrine Chaplain, said: “Today was a truly joyous occasion and we were really pleased to have so many friends of Saint Jude attend”.

Fr. Michael blessing a pilgrim's religious souvenirs.

The Shrine's Development Manager, Mr. Matt Betts, remarked: “The National Shrine of Saint Jude is proud of its 60 years of ministry and we are very pleased that the Worshipful Mayor and other VIPs could attend this special day. We are looking forward to seeing pilgrims at our Feast celebrations in October where the Diamond Jubilee will conclude. All are welcome.”

The Mayor and Mayoress with Matt Betts and his family.

For more photographs of the celebration, please visit: