Many members and friends of the Carmelite Order are welcomed at Aylesford Priory ("The Friars") in Kent every year. They are drawn by the site's beauty, history, and spiritual richness, receiving a warm welcome from the Prior and his fellow friars, as well as the staff and volunteers who work there.
In early September 2017, the Carmelites at Aylesford were pleased to welcome the new Youth Team from Southwark Catholic Youth Service (SCYS). The Carmelites and SCYS enjoy a long-standing friendship and collaboration, with the Youth Service bringing groups of school children to the beautiful setting of Aylesford for pilgrimage away-days. Southwark Catholic Youth Service is run by a team of staff and volunteer young people known as the Peer Ministry Team. This team of young people work alongside their peers, as well as school teachers and chaplains, parish catechists and youth workers. The Peer Ministry Team are post-Confirmation-aged young people who want to grow in their own faith and be empowered to take a more active lead in catechesis and youth work. The team is based at St. Vincent's in Whistable, the Southwark Diocesan Youth Retreat Centre, where they learn skills such as communication, leadership, and public speaking, whilst reflecting on their own life journey and faith. Each September a new Peer Ministry Team begins working together, and they stay together at Aylesford Priory as part of their introduction.
The Carmelites at Aylesford were also pleased to welcome two Indian Carmelite friars who have pastoral care of White Abbey, the Order's historic community in Kildare, Ireland. In April 2016, White Abbey was entrusted by the Irish Province of Carmelites to friars from the Indian Carmelite Delegation of St. Thérèse and St. Albert, provisionally for three years. During this time, the Indian Carmelites are taking the opportunity to get to know fellow members of the Order in Europe, and were warmly welcomed to Aylesford by the Prior, Fr. Francis Kemsley, O.Carm.
Carmelite friars from India/Ireland and new members of the Peer Ministry Team of Southwark Catholic Youth Service were welcomed to Aylesford Priory by the Prior Fr. Francis Kemsley (top left), Fr. Ged Walsh (beside him), and the Prior Provincial Fr. Kevin Alban (top right).