The pilgrimage season is in full swing now and the sun is difficult to pin down. One moment it is shining, then a big cloud comes followed by rain. This is certainly not typical May weather. We are busy getting ready for the height of summer. The grass is being cut, the holes are being filled and the broken paving stones are being sorted. Busy, busy, busy.
Many of the pilgrimages and larger groups have their events outside but fortunately we have lots of places where different groups can shelter. On Friday we had 240 little children here for the day. This is a very safe place to visit and so we have many school groups and also people with various levels of ability feel at home here. This Saturday there will be a day retreat on “Beginning Prayer” in our Gatehouse, which is the house that straddles the Peace Garden. Sheila and Paul will help people to ease their way into prayer and suggest all sorts of different ways to start.
Lay Carmelites will also meet in Aylesford on Saturday. Every month a group of lay people who feel inspired by the Carmelite way gather to pray and reflect on their vocation here. There are many such groups throughout the country and indeed throughout the world. If you are interested to find a group near you, look at www.carmelite.org under “communities”.
We are praying for a little bit of good weather for Sunday as we have a large pilgrimage of the Pioneers Association and the Matt Talbot group. Hopefully on Wednesday the sun will also shine brightly. That is the day that lots of school children come together from various parts of our diocese to celebrate with Bishop Paul Hendricks. They have a celebration at the Main Shrine in the morning and games in the afternoon. It is a fun day but particularly exhausting for the friars who are selling the ice creams! Brs. Jacek, Severin and Kurt are busy trying to learn all the different types of ice lollies before Wednesday. I shall keep you posted.