The National Shrine of Saint Jude began their Diamond Jubilee commemorations on Saturday with the Summer Celebration. The Mayor and Mayoress of Faversham, Councillor Nigel A Kay and Mrs Anne Kay were among the special guests together with the Prior Provincial of the British Province of Carmelites, Fr Antony Lester, O.Carm.
On arrival, the Mayor of Faversham and other VIPs were taken on a tour of the Shrine and site by Fr Wilfrid McGreal (Prior of the Carmelite community). The guests discovered the history behind the Shrine and learnt that the founder, Fr Elias Lynch, O.Carm sat on the town council for a number of years.
In the afternoon, an outside Mass of thanksgiving was celebrated by Fr.Tony Lester. Fr. Tony thanked all the Pilgrims who have supported and visited the Shrine since 1955. He noted that the Carmelite Order has been very proud of the work of the Shrine, the community, lay staff and volunteers over the last sixty years. The Mass was followed by a procession past the beautiful sixteenth century statue of Saint Jude.
The Mayor and other VIPs (including Guild of Saint Jude members) then enjoyed a drinks reception in the Saint Jude Welcome Centre. Later, the Mayor was invited to say a few words by Mr Matt Betts, Development Manager at the Shrine. Councillor Nigel Kay thanked the Carmelite Order for their invitation to the Summer Celebration, and observed that the Shrine was a hidden jewel in Faversham. He was very proud to know that the Shrine was continuing the long history of pilgrimages to the area since the middle ages. Both he and his wife had an enjoyable day.
The weather was kind and the Shrine welcomed over 300 pilgrims. Fr Michael Manning, Chaplain, said: "It was a truly joyous occasion and we were so pleased to have so many friends of Saint Jude attend". Mr Betts said: "The National Shrine of Saint Jude is proud of its 60 years of ministry and we are very pleased that the Worshipful Mayor and other VIPs could attend this special day. We are looking forward to seeing pilgrims at our Feast celebrations in October where the Diamond Jubilee will conclude - all welcome".
For more information on the National Shrine of St Jude, see: www.carmelite.org/index.php?nuc=content&id=111
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