Monday 28 October 2013

St Jude, Apostle

Jude, one of the twelve Apostles, sometimes called Judas is often shown in icons with a flame on his head representing his presence at Pentecost and the reception of the Holy Spirit.  His two main attributes are a long club and holding a golden medallion with an image of Christ on it.  Occasionally he is depicted with a book or a carpenter's rule. 

The UK National Shrine for St Jude
 is in Faversham, Kent and over the weekend closest to his feast there are pilgrimages to honour him and venerate the relic reserved in the shrine.  The Shrine has been totally renovated following a major fire and now has a number of modern icons of Carmelite saints to mark the connection of the Shrine and the Carmelite Order. 
A tradition has Jude being invoked as a saint for lost causes.


Wednesday 23 October 2013


On Saturday 19th October Paul Jenkins, surrounded by his brethren and family and friends professed the Evangelical Counsels of Obedience, Poverty and Chastity and committed himself to serving the Order of Carmelites for life.  This step had been taken after lengthy discernment and living in community.  Paul will continue to live in The Friars, Aylesford until the next Provincial Chapter.  Paul's family have been a great support during his build up to this decision and it was great to see so many of them here to witness him place his hands into those of the Wilfrid McGreal, the Provincial and publically profess his vows and then sign the document on the altar. 
Music was provided by musicians from the Southwark Catholic Youth Service who have become very much part of our lives here in The Friars.  Paul will be closely involved in work with the SCYS both here and there centre, St Vincent's in Whitstable.  The service was followed by a photo shoot and a magnificent buffet in the Pilgrim's Hall.


Friday 26 July 2013

Preparations for WYD@Home

As the week moved forward and closer to the start of the WTD@Home festival this weekend a number of quite obvious and impressive objects were taking their place at the Friars.  The first was a huge Circus Big Top in bright orange and yellow which will house the music events and social occasions.  The second was equally impressive and started off as a large metal structure which latter began to carry the multi-panel video screen which will be used to display footage of the papal visit to Brazil, including the Masses of Pope Francis.  All in all it promises to be an unforgettable event and hopefully a great time of enjoyment, socialising, meeting new people and also a spiritual experience for all the young people who will attend.  Please pray for the WYD@Home

Monday 22 July 2013

Bridget of Sweden

Bridget of Sweden (1303 – 23 July 1373; also Birgitta of Vadstena, was a mystic and a saint.  After the death of her husband of twenty years  she founded of two orders; the Bridgettines nuns and the monks of the same name. She was also the mother of Catherine of Vadstena who was canonised as well.  Bridget was canonised on 7 October 1391 by Pope Boniface IX 
Her claim to fame was due largely to her mystical visions especially her vision of the Nativity of Christ which greatly influenced the artistic representations of the nativity scene.
St Bridget is one six patron saints of Europe.

Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene

Mary was standing outside near the tomb.  Then, as she wept, she stooped to look inside, and saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head and the other at the feet.  They said, 'Woman, why are you weeping?'  'They have taken my Lord away', she replied.  As she said this she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not realise it was Jesus.  Jesus said to her, ' Woman, why are you weeping?  Who are you looking for?'  Supposing him to be the gardener, Mary said, 'Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him and I will go and remove him.'  Jesus said, 'Mary.' and she turned to him and said in Hebrew, 'Rabbuni!'  'Do not cling to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father.  But go to the brothers and tell them I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'  So Mary of Magdala told the disciples, 'I have seen the Lord,' and that he had said these things to her.  (Jn 20: 11-18)

Sunday 21 July 2013

High tea at The Friars

One of the things which is always associated with an English summer is a good cream tea.  Well if you had come to The Friars this afternoon you could have enjoyed just such a High tea with assorted finger sandwiches, various fancy cakes and of course the scones with jam and fresh cream. 

All this served with plenty of tea in mis-matched antique cups and saucers and plates.  
 The reasons for coming for high teat are varied; this couple came to celebrate the husbands 80th birthday.  While others just wanted to take advantage of the sun and spend some time together with the family.  The picture above shows three generations of one family having tea together.

The main attraction is of course the tea itself and the knowledge that everything is cooked at The Friars,  producing a High Tea of  excellent cakes and sandwiches which could just as well have been served in an elegant hotel as easily as in the medieval Pilgrims Hall.  A good time was had by all and the compliments were to be heard all round.

Farmers Market, Aylesford.

The Friars hosted the first of a number of monthly Farmers Markets today.  Offering quality local produce a large number of stall holders opened from 9 am to the public and not much later both the car parks were full with visitors.  Walking around the different stalls it was impressive to see the wide range of produce available, all locally made although ingredients often came from farther afield.  There were exotic burgers, beautiful cupcakes, a wide range of breads, pastries with a variety of fillings as well as a cheese stall and of course our own Friars cakes.  

There was also a cookery demonstration with Petrus Madutlela from the Hengist Restaurant in Aylesford. 

 Asked whether they enjoyed themselves everyone said that it was a 'lovely location', a 'peaceful experience' and 'they would be back next month.  The stall holders were also enthusiastic about the results and the atmosphere here at The Friars and they would be bringing their stalls back next month.  As the sun began to shine so the people seemed to enjoy themselves more and more with an almost carnival atmosphere.
Everyone left with bags of produce and said 'see you next month' as they headed off to their cars and returned home having had a thoroughly enjoyable experience and great sense of hospitality.

Saturday 20 July 2013

Solemnity of the Prophet Elijah

A wonderful celebration of the
Prophet Elijah for you all.
The Aylesford Community

Friday 19 July 2013

Richard III on the lawn.

Friday 19th July was a day for Shakespearean culture.  The Changeling Theatre Company gave a performance of their outdoor production of Richard III.  In a mixture of modern and period costume a good sized audience gathered on this warm summer evening with cushions, folding chairs, picnics and drinks to watch this group of young people give their own twist to the story of the last of the Plantagenet kings.  By slight changes of intonation they lightened up some of the scenes and Alex Mugnaioni,  playing Richard of Gloucester helped this with his cheerful interaction with the audience.  All in all a good production which was enjoyed by all.

Tuesday 16 July 2013

16th July 2013

Looking at A Prayer in Stone I was aware that it was the middle of March that the last item was posted.  With today's post I hope to get back into the posting habit and to keep the Blog up to date.

Solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

It was a joyful occasion as people gathered today in the Relic Chapel here at The Friars Aylesford to celebrate this major feast day of our Order - Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  With many visitors to the shrine as well as a number of members of the Carmelite Family we also had the added pleasure of two lay Carmelites from the Leigh on Sea Chapter making their final profession - their life commitment to Carmel.  The chapel was quiet as Anne Marie and Janet made their public profession and signed their professions on the altar.  These signed documents remained on the altar for the remainder of the Mass as a symbol of the offering which these two women were making to God and to the Church.
May the blessing of Our Lady of Mount Carmel be upon, those you love and all those you know and remain with you for ever.

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Pope Francis

Pope Francis.

Habemas Papam

Inspired by the Holy Spirit the those members of the College of Cardinals who went into The Sistine Chapel at the beginning of the Conclave on Tuesday 12th March have today elected one of their number to be the Bishop of Rome, the Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. He is Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina and he will take the papal name of  Francis.

Thursday 14 February 2013

"Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach."

On Monday 11th February our brother Gerard (Ged) Walsh was ordained for ministry in the Church as a Deacon.

By the imposition of hands and prayer Terence Drainey, Bishop of Middlesborough ordained Ged during mass at the Carmelite Monastery in Thicket.  The sisters in Thicket have always been great friend with the Carmelites and were delighted to host this celebration.  Surrounded by his parents, his Carmelite Sisters and Brethers, clergy from the local church, friends and students from York University Ged was clothed in the vestments of the Deacon, given the book of Gospels and assisted at the altar accompanied by music by the sister and prayers of the community gathered..  The liturgical celebration was rounded off by a social gathering hosted by the Carmelite Sisters.
All photographs by Johan Bergstrom Allen. Used with thanks.

Benedict XVI: a momentous decision

Before an audience of Cardinals Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation. Addressing the Cardinals and the Church in general he said:  "After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry... For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant".  He thanked the cardinals for their support and asked "pardon for all my defects".
Benedict is the first Pope to resign his office in almost 600 years and will be in the position of living through the beginning of his Successors ministry as Bishop of Rome and Successor of St. Peter.  The intention of Benedict VXI is to take up a life of seclusion and prayer.
The conclave to elect a new pope will begin in mid March.

On Wednesday 11th February Benedict XVI gave his weekly Wednesday Audience in a crowded St Paul VI auditorium.  As he entered he was given a standing ovation which lasted long after he had taken his seat.  

Later in the day he presided at the Ash Wednesday Mass with imposition of the Ashes.  
He received the ash cross from one of his cardinals and then distributed them to his brethren.


Repainting programme, a work in progress

Over the last weeks the Relic Chapel and the Choir Chapel have been undergoing a re-decoration.  The Relic Chapel is finished along with the Carmelite Saints and and the English Martyrs chapels included.  

The new colour schemes have been chosen to make the most of the natural and artificial light in the chapels to give an atmosphere which is conducive both to quiet prayer as well as larger liturgical celebrations.  

In the relic chapel the colour has been chosen taking into account the colouring of the Kossowski ceramics of the Stations of the Cross.