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Honoured Guests at Faversham for Saint Jude Diamond Jubilee
05 November 2015

On the feast of Saint Jude, 28th October 2015, the Carmelite friars who serve Britain's National Shrine of Saint Jude at Faversham in Kent welcomed several hundred pilgrims, including a number of honoured guests, to celebrate the site's Diamond Jubilee of establishment.

The Shrine was built by the Carmelites 60 years ago in response to a growing demand from Catholics and other Christians for a place in which to honour Saint Jude, an apostle and kinsman of Jesus, often dubbed the patron saint of difficult or desperate cases.

Despite its obscure location adjoining the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the back-streets of Faversham, the Shrine of Saint Jude attracts pilgrims from across Britain and around the world, and keeps in touch with 20,000 supporters through a quarterly newsletter.

Acknowledging the impact the National Shrine of Saint Jude makes not only within the Church but also to the life of Faversham generally, the celebrations were attended by a number of civic dignitaries: the Mayor of Swale, Councillor Anita Walker; the Mayor of Faversham, Councillor Nigel Kay, and his Deputy, Councillor Sheil Campbell; the Lieutenancy of Kent was represented by the Deputy Lieutenant Mr. Jonathan Neame.

The Mayor of Swale (right) and Deputy Mayor of Faversham
processing into the church.

The Mayor of Faversham being led in procession by his mace-bearer.
When the Shrine was opened in 1955 by the Archbishop of Southwark, Cyril Cowderoy, he described it as a "gem" in Southwark Archdiocese. It was therefore appropriate that the Diamond Jubilee celebration Mass was presided over by his succssor, Most Reverend Peter Smith.

The Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was packed to overflowing
for Mass on the feast of Saint Jude.
The preacher at Mass was the Prior Provincial of the Carmelites, Very Rev. Fr. Antony Lester, O.Carm. He spoke about the origins of the Shrine, and the ongoing work of building God's kingdom which Saint Jude continues from heaven, often interceding for people in remarkable ways.

Fr. Tony preaching at the Diamond Jubilee Mass.
To hear Fr. Tony's homily, click on the arrow in the box below.

The Eucharistic Prayer.
Among the priests concelebrating at Mass were the local Carmelite friar community, and former Directors and Chaplains of the Shrine.
A very popular devotion at the Shrine is the blessing of Saint Jude's Oil. Archbishop Peter blessed oil with a relic of the Apostle, which was then used to give a devotional anointing to the pilgrims.

Archbishop Peter blessing the Oil of Saint Jude.

The Archbishop and Carmelite Provincial blessing pilgrims with St. Jude's Oil.

Pilgrims had come from far and wide for the Diamond Jubilee celebration
on the feast day itself; the preceeding weekend many hundreds more pilgrims
had also made the journey.

Saint Jude's Oil is used as a symbol of God's healing touch.

The current Shrine Chaplain, Fr. Michael Manning, O.Carm., blessing a pilgrim.

Faversham welcomes pilgrims of every age and cultural background.

To watch video footage of the Mass, preceded by a Litany of Saint Jude, click on the arrow in the YouTube box below.

After Mass the Archbishop and civic dignitaries visited the Shrine for a moment of quiet reflection and prayer.

The civic party processing from the church to the Shrine.

Archbishop Peter at prayer in the Shrine of Saint Jude.
At the heart of the Shrine is a beautiful 16th-century Spanish statue of Saint Jude. It was donated to the Carmelites during the Second World War to commemroate two young men lost in action at sea. Their surviving brother, Mr. Jim Murphy, was among the VIPs attending the Diamond Jubilee celebration.

Pilgrims at prayer at the National Shrine of Saint Jude.

The Archbishop, the Carmelite Provincial and fellow friars, civic dignitaries,
and Shrine Development Team outside the National Shrine.
After Mass the civic dignitaries were given a tour of the site, and met with pilgrims who had come from far and wide for the Jubilee celebrations.
The Whitefriars site at Faversham includes the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Shrine of Saint Jude, the friars' community house, and a marquee specially erected for pilgrim devotions during the feast celebrations every October.

The Deputy Lieutenant of Kent (left) Mr. Jonathan Neame being shown the pilgrims' marquee by the Shrine Development Manager, Mr. Matthew Betts.

In the marquee pilgrims light candles in front of an image of Saint Jude
as a symbol of their prayers and hopes.
Pilgrims at prayer in the marquee.

Pilgrims writing their prayer petitions.

Pilgrims at prayer inside the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
The Development Manager of St. Jude's Shrine invited the Archbishop of Southwark and the Mayor of Faversham to visit the newly-renovated Shrine Information Centre which will provide a welcome to pilgrims throughout the year.

The Archbishop reading letters of congratulations to the Shrine on its Diamond Jubilee which have been received from Buckingham Palce, the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, and the Prior General of the Carmelite Order in Rome.

A new series of display panels will tell visitors the story of the National Shrine.

 Archbishop Peter unveiled a plaque commemorating the Shrine of Saint Jude's Diamond Jubilee and the opening of the new Shrine Information Centre.

Carmelites and members of the Shrine Development Team were delighted to welcome the Archbishop and Mayor to inaugurate the new facilities at Faversham.

Archbishop Peter - flanked here by his secretary Fr. Philip Glandfield and Fr. Michael Manning - was presented with an image of Saint Jude and a copy of Fr. Wilfrid McGreal's biography of the Shrine's founder, Fr. Elias Lynch.