Monday 26 November 2012

Br. Paul instituted as Acolyte

During the celebration of the 12 noon Mass  in the Relic Chapel Fr. Wilfrid McGreal, Provincial of the British Province instituted Br. Paul Jenkins in the ministry of Acolyte.  The acolyte is, according to Vatican II, an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion and may function as such at all celebrations of the Mass.  He is also to be involved in Catechesis and preparation of young people for 1st Eucharist and Confirmation.

Thursday 8 November 2012

Feast of the Deication of the Lateran Basilica

Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran is the  cathedral church of the Dipcese of Rome and the official ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome, who is the Pope. It is the oldest and ranks first among the four Papal Basilicas of Rome having the cathedra of the Bishop of Rome.[1] It claims the title of ecumenical mother church among Roman Catholics.

The Archbasilica stands over the remains of the 'new fort' of the imperial cavalry bodyguard. The fort was established by Septimus Severus in AD 193. Following the victory of Constantine I over Maxentius  at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, the guard was abolished and the fort demolished. Substantial remains of the fort lie directly beneath the nave. The remainder of the site was occupied by the palace of the Laterani family.  This Lateran Palace came into the hands of the emperor when Constantine I married his second wife Fausta and it was eventually given to the Bishop of Rome by Constantine. The actual date of the gift is unknown but scholars believe it had to have been during the pontificate of  Pope Miltiades, in time to host a synod of bishops in 313 that was convened to challenge the Donatist schism. The palace basilica was converted and extended, becoming the residence of Poe Sulvester I eventually becoming the cathedral of Rome; the seat of the popes as bishops of Rome.  It has been badly damaged twice by fire; in 1307 and 136, the damage adding to its decline.  When the papacy returned to Rome it was considered unsuitable for the Pope’s residence and so after two moves the papal palace was built adjacent to St. Peter’s Basilica and the Papal court moved in there; it remains the papal residence today.

The Lateran Basilica houses 6 Papal tombs, a large number of the older tombs having been destroyed by the 14th Century fires.  The last Pope to be entombed in the Lateran was Leo XIII.


St. Elizabeth of the Trinity

Elizabeth of the Trinity (July 18, 1880 – November 9, 1906) was a French Carmelite and religious writer.  She entered the Dijon Carmel on August 2, 1901. As a young nun she said, "I find Him everywhere while doing the wash as well as while praying." Her time in the Carmel had some high times as well as some very low times. Today, we know about how she felt and her experiences from her writings. She would often write when she felt she needed a richer understanding of God’s great love.

At the end of Elizabeth’s life, she began to call herself Laudem Gloriæ which can be translated as praise of glory. She once said, "I think that in Heaven my mission will be to draw souls by helping them to go out of themselves in order to cling to God by a wholly simple and loving movement, and to keep them in this great inner silence which will allow God to communicate Himself to them and to transform them into Himself."

Elizabeth died at the age of 26 from Addison's disease, which in the early 20th century had no treatment. Even though her death was unbearable, Elizabeth still accepted that God gave her that gift and was grateful. Her last words were, "I am going to Light, to Love, to Life!"

Elizabeth was beatified on November 25, 1984 and her memorial day is November 8. Her best-known prayer is "Holy Trinity Whom I Adore” which she wrote out of her love of the Trinity. Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity is a patron of illness, sick people and loss of parents.


Saturday 27 October 2012

Filipino Community Pilgrimage. 7th October 2012

On a bright but chilly Sunday at the beginning of October the Filipino Community gathered here in Aylesford for their annual pilgrimage.  The event was well attended and a joyful atmoshpere soon filled  the piazza.  Mass was celebrated at the Main Shrine with Phillip Lindsay Clarkes statue of Our Lady of the Assumption looking down on her children.  Accompanied by a statue of Our Lady opf fatima the Scapular Vision statue was processed around the Rosary Way with prayer and song before taking its place on the main shrine altar.  Music was provided by a choir assembled from the Filipino Community and everyone was in good voice for the celebration.   
The pilgrimage closed with a picnic lunch in the grounds and a chance tp meet up with friends and relatives or to play games in the safety of the Friars. 

Friday 19 October 2012

Philip Howard, Martyr (28 June 1557 – 19 October 1595)

Philip Howard was the eldest son of  Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk. He was baptised at Whitehall Palace with the Royal Family in attendance, and was named after his godfather, King Philip of Spain.  At the age of fourteen, he was married to his stepsister, Anne Dacre. After years of estrangement, they were reunited and built a very strong marriage.
In 1569, on 1 October, Philip Howard's father, Thomas Howard, was arrested for his intrigues against Queen El;izabeth I. His father wasattainted and executed in 1572, which prevented Philip inheriting the Dukedom.  However through his mother’s lineage he was made Earl of Arundel in 1580.
Most of the Howard family remained Catholics during the reign of Elizabeth I, when it was very dangerous to do so. Caught trying to leave England and due to his being second cousin to the Queen Philip was committed to the tower of London in April 1585. While charges of high Treason were never proved, he spent ten years in the Tower, until his death of dysentry. Philip Howard petitioned the Queen as he lay dying to allow him to see his wife and his son but the Queen responded that "If he will but once attend the Protestant Service, he shall not only see his wife and children, but be restored to his honors and estates with every mark of my royal favor." To this, Saint Philip replied, "Tell Her Majesty if my religion be the cause for which I suffer, sorry I am that I have but one life to lose.".  He died alone in the Tower and was immediately acclaimed as a Catholic Martyr. 
His tomb is in Arundel Cathedral having been moved from St Peter ad Vincula  (in the Tower) with permission of James I

Monday 15 October 2012

Saint Teresa of Jesus

Teresa Of Jesus, Carmelite (1515-1582
Born in Gotarrendura, in the province of Ávila, Spain Teresa entered the Carmelite convent at the age of 20. It was during a long period of illness that she had a vision of “the sorely wounded Christ”, an event which changed her life forever. During the rest of her life Teresa’s internal life developed which led to becoming known as one of the great mystics of the 16th Century and she set herself to the reformation of her order, beginning with her attempt to master herself and her adherence to the rule. Gathering a group of supporters, Teresa endeavored to create a more primitive type of Carmelite.
Teresa of Jesus by Rubens
When Teresa died in 1582 she left to posterity many new convents, which she continued founding up to the year of her death. She also left a significant legacy of writings, which represent important benchmarks in the history of Christian mysticism. These works include the Way of Perfection and the Interior Castle. She also left an autobiography.After her death the reform she had started developed into what was to become the Order of Discalced Carmelites.

Ecstasy of St Teresa by Josefa de Obidos 1672
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,

Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

Thursday 11 October 2012

New Boilers at The Friars

No, it is quite safe; an alien ship has not landed at The Friars as the start of world domination, or at least Kent.  These are the innards of the shiny new boilers which are being installed in Aylesford to cope with the cold this winter.  The new boilers should keep the house and chapels warm enough to make scarves and sweaters unnecessary.  What they will look like with their outer cladding I don't know but I rather like the Borg-like appearence they have at the moment - expecting "Seven of Nine" to appear any moment, LOL.

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Carmelites in the Holy Land

The International Formation Commission of the Order organized an in the Holy Land From the 29th August to 12th September 2012 a group of 38 Carmelites were in the Holy Land for an on-going formation programme entitled “Back to the sources”. Participants came from most of the provinces around the world: North and South America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

The group were based at the OCD Centre “Stella Maris” to start with and then moved to Jerusalem.
During the 2 week stay in the Holy Land they had a full programme with a number of conferences given by various members of the order.  They also found time to visit most of the Carmelite sites on Mount Carmel and to take in the spirit of the place which inspired our founding brethren and also the brotherhood of prophets remembering of course Elijah and Elisha.  Galilee and a number of the sites connected with the life and ministry of Jesus were also visited as well as Bethlehem and Bethany and the major sites in the city of Jerusalem.
Francis Kemsley returned to Aylesford with wqonderful tales and anecdotes about the trip and also saying what a wonderful experience it had been.




Monday 6 August 2012


Towards the end of the Caribbean Pilgrimage yesterday those near the pond could have heard a loud cracking noise followed by a massive rustling of leaves as a large branch form one of the trees on the bank of the pond fell down.  The Black Poplar trees apparently have a danger, after any period of drought which weakens the branch joints, of losing those branches.  Steve Hayden, the Estates Manager, estimated that it may be as much as two tons of wood which fell yesterday.  Luckily no one was near the tree and now it just remains to move and saw up the branch and see if any damage has been done to the pond bank.  All part of the exciting life or Aylesford Priory


Despite the torrential rain at the beginning of the gathering of pilgrims for this annual event the happy and friendly atmosphere was not dampened.  With music and singing to warm up their spirits the pilgrims from the various Caribbean communities from the South East were soon in celebratory mood and as the sun broke through this helped turn the day into a joyous and uplifting occasion.  Bishop John Hine presided at the Pilgrimage Mass and mentioned that we should  should be clear "why we are here" as Jesus asked those who had followed him after they had been fed.  "I am the Bread of Life" we tells them.  Important  as the celebration of the Eucharist together is we also need to remember that the "Bread /Body" of Christ we receive also brings a commitment to the "Life"; a life of following and striving to be more Christ-like, not just on Sundays but during the whole week.
After Bishop John had lunched with the pilgrims in the Prior's Hall he then joined in the Rosary Procession and presided at Benediction.  
Everyone left with raised spirits and a smile on their faces which make the journey worthwhile.

Sunday 5 August 2012

Vintange Motor Cycle Show.

A Rudge bike form the late 1940s; an English bike with its owner

An old Indian bike, an American brand that was one of the largest in the USA, with its owner.
Over this last weekend the top field at The Friars Add captionhas been filled stands and displays of motorcycles from the earliest dated 1919 right up to present day bikes.  I didn't realise they come in so many different sizes and shapes.  Walking around the field today on their Public Day I was surprised how chatty they were and how pleased everyone was to be at the Friars.  As one many said "I go to lots of shows but this is always the best and in such a great place".  It's good to hear when people enjoy being here.  A number of them were at the 10.15 Mass this morning so it's not just a showground for them.  They all looked forward to coming back next time.  Here are a few pictures of some of the bikes including me in a sidecare on the timed obstacle course

One of the puppies in training for a career as a dog who will accompany his carer as they move around the town enabling them to increase their mobility and Independence.  The Guide Dog Society is the Motor Cycle Club's chosen charity this year and money from this show will go towards the running costs of the Society

Saturday 28 July 2012


The opening ceremony started with a idealistic view of Pastoral England, a golden age with Fields and tread, fluffy clouds and animals and "rustics" dotted all over the central arena. 
 However, this soon began to change as fields disappeared and trees were uprooted and then slowly tall smoking chimneys rose up creating and industrial landscape to the sound of hundreds of beating drums and the words of Jerusalem.  
But out of this dark image the five rings of the Olympic Games were forged and rose up to dominate the skyline above the stadium.  
Another highpoint of the ceremony was the section dedicated to the work of the NHS and this was also a chance to underline the work with children as they paid homage to British children's literature with of course J,K,Rowland's great wizard Voldemort being vanquished, not my Harry but by an massed army of Mary Poppins complete with umbrella and carpet bag.
A demonstration of British Humour was demonstrated by a parody of the James Bond stories with 007 collecting Her Majesty in a helicopter, leaving the whimpering corgis on the steps of the palace and fly her to the Olympic arena  Here she jumped out of the aircraft with Daniel Craig to parachute down to the turf.  Of course she survived top appear a few minutes later in the royal box.  Mr Bean(Rowan Atkinson) also used his inimitable mime talents to lighten up the LSO recital conducted by Sir Simon Rattle and also his appearance as a runner in the Chariots of Fire.
Of course there were also all the athletes and their spectacular
 march into the arena and the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron.
Mary Poppins vs Voldemort
The NHS caring for the Nation

 All in all a breathtaking opening ceremony which was personally 
The Five Rings soar in the arena
British and didn't attempt to outdo any of its predecessors.  An opening to a games which promises to be a coming together of Nations and people, athletes and visitors which showed us many vales we hold dear: Joy, Light,  Music, People and Tradition; all values which we as Carmelites can embrace.

Light pouring from the newly forged rings

 Her Majesty the Queen escorted by Agent 007

A best kept secret:  the Olympic Cauldron 2012

Friday 27 July 2012


Olympic Teams arrive at Heahtrow
In a little under eleven hours the opening ceremonies for the 2012 Olympic Games will begin in London and watched by an estimated 1 Billion viewers worldwide.  Whether we are sport interested people or not, runner or couch potatoes it will effect our lives in some way or other even, if it is only the travel delays.  Over the last seven years there have been a host of negative reports and complaints about these games.  But now they are here it is time to put these behind us.  As one of the chaplains to the games said this morning; they are a time for peace and togetherness. Even Paul used the athletes as an image so why do we not do the same. 
This prayer was written and is used by the pupils of St Catherines R.C. Primary School, Didbury:

Two icons: The Olypic Torch and Brunel's Bridge
God of Unity and Peace, you bring the world together during the Olympics to celebrate the achievements of gifted athletes and the people and countries who support them.
We pray for the success of the Olympic Games and the Paralympic games in London.  May the participating athletes and their supporters have fun, work well together and grow in respect and appreciation of the people and traditions of other countries. Lord, bless the contestants  their families and their countrymen.
May the Olympic experience allow them not only to feel proud and be a source of inspiration to each other but also to be thankful for the talents that God has given them.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord.
Let's use it today.

Titus Brandsma, Carmelite, Martyr, 1881 - 1942

The life of Titus Brandsma began in the quiet countryside of Friesland, Holland, where he was born on February 23, 1881, and ended some sixty years later on July 26, 1942, in the notorious hospital of the Dachau concentration camp. Born Anno Brandsma, he completed high school Franciscans before entering the Carmelites in Boxmeer in September of 1898, where he adopted his father's name, Titus.  Titus showed interest in journalism and writing, two activities which would occupy much of his time later on in life. Ordained on June 17, 1905, and after further studies at the Roman Gregorian University. The Archbishop of Utrecht appointed  Titus as spiritual advisor to the staff members of the Catholic newspapers in Holland; around the same time, the policies of Adolf Hitler  began to be felt in Holland. These were criticized by Titus in his teaching and in the press even after the Nazi occupation of Holland  and the open persecution of the Jews. Catholic hierarchy.  Following the Church's refusal to print Nazi propaganda in their newspapersand his personal delivery to Catholic editor of a letter from the bishops ordering them not to comply with Nazi orders to print official Nazi publications Titus was arrested on January 19, 1942 at the Boxmeer monastery and interned at Scheveningen and Amersfoort in Holland before being sent to Dachau  on June 19, 1942. His constitution quickly deteriorated under the harsh regime, forcing him to enter the camp hospital in the third week of July. There he became the subject of biological experimentation, before being killed by lethal injection on July 26, 1942.
Living in Nazi occupied Holland, being arrested and made a prisoner by the Nazis and, eventually, being sent to die in the concentration camp of Dachau, were all extreme circumstances which tested Titus’ commitment to peace and reconciliation. His witness during these events offers us inspiration, concrete examples of how he practiced what he preached, and models for us the presence of faith in the most inhuman conditions.

Friday 20 July 2012

50 years a Priest

Wednesday 18th July saw a large number of wellwishers gather in the Sacred Hearts Church, Charlton Kings, to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Bernard Jones O. Carm.  Fr. Bernard, born in Hampton, had been ordained  22nd July 1962 and ministered in a variety of places - the parish of Usk in Monmouthshire with its young offenders prison; he had been chaplain to a number of Convents; Parish Priest in Devon and latterly chaplain to Nazareth House in Charlton Kings.
Wherever he has been, whatever his role, Bernard had always been a true pastor to the people he served, always living out in a modest and  true manner his vocation as both Carmelite and Priest.
Young and old - one Church, one Community
Fr. Tom Smith, a friend of Bernard, said in his homily: "lowliness is taken up by greatness, weakness by power, mortality by eternity",
applying this quote from Pope Leo the Great to
Bernard's life.  
Bernard is very much, to use a computer term, WYSIWYG - What you see is what you get. When you meet Bernard then you see the true man and that is a valuable gift in today's world. He relates to all young or old and shows a genuine love of people.  Fr. Bernard, however, also has a definite  portion of the Hermit in him, being self sufficient, prayerful and reflective in keeping with his calling to the Carmelite life. Over 100 people came to wish him well and celebrate Bernard and his minsitry.  To quote Fr. Tom Smith again "As life and society become more transient, so to is life within the Church, we have a rare opportunity to see one who has persevered through the storms of life and whose faith is strong and a source of norishment for those around him".