On 1st August the new Archbishop of Southwark, Most Reverend John Wilson, visited the Carmelite friars at The Friars, Aylesford (Aylesford Priory) and was enrolled in the Order's Brown Scapular.
At the Shrine of Our Lady in Aylesford. Left-right: Fr. Francis Kemsley, Archbishop John Wilson, Fr. Kevin Alban.
Archbishop John was ordained priest for the Diocese of Leeds in 1995. As Episcopal Vicar for Evangelisation in the diocese, he oversaw the visit to Leeds Cathedral of the relics of the Carmelite nun St. Thérèse of Lisieux. In 2015 he was appointed an auxillary bishop in Westminster Archdiocese, and on 10th June 2019 he was appointed Archbishop of Southwark on the retirement of Archbishop Peter Smith.
Archbishop John receiving his pallium (symbol of office) from Pope Francis on 29th June this year.
When Archbishop's John's appointment was announced, the Prior Provincial of the British Province of Carmelites, Very Reverend Fr. Kevin Alban, O.Carm., said: "The British Province of Carmelites and the Carmelite Family congratulates Bishop John Wilson on his appointment as Archbishop of Southwark and assures him of prayers and support." Archbishop John was installed at St. George's Cathedral, Southwark, on 25th July.
At the Shrine of Saint Simon Stock at Aylesford.
The Carmelite Order has a long association with the Archdiocese of Southwark, which covers the London boroughs south of the River Thames, the County of Kent, and the Medway Unitary Authority. The archdiocese contains two major Carmelite shrines: of Our Lady and Saint Simon Stock at Aylesford; and of Saint Jude in Faversham. Over recent decades Carmelite friars have served in a number of diocesan parishes and apostolates, and there is a strong link between the ministry of Aylesford Priory and Southwark Catholic Youth Service. There are also Lay Carmelite communities in Aylesford, Faversham, and Margate, and in the past the Corpus Christi Carmelite Sisters ran an orphanage in Shorne.
The Carmelite Provincial, Fr. Kevin Alban, and Prior of Aylesford, Fr. Francis Kemsley, were delighted to welcome Archbishop John to Aylesford early in his new role. By enrolling him in the Brown Scapular - a miniature version of the Carmelite habit worn as an object of Marian devotion - the Carmelites have entrusted the Archbishop to the special care and protection of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and received him into the wider 'Carmelite Family'.
Fr. Francis enrolling the Archbishop in the Carmelite Brown Scapular.
Text: Dr. Johan Bergström-Allen, T.O.C.
Photography: Fr. Kevin Alban, O.Carm.; Catholic Bishops Conference of England & Wales