Monday, 12 October 2009


Now that I've offloaded about the flagrantly discriminatory nature of various charitable institutions (I'm not bitter, I promise!), I can pen a little piece on the St Mary Magdalen's visit to the Friars in Aylesford, dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St Simon Stock.

The coach, 'Mr Clive Travel' (just for some free product placement) turned up on time and about 26 of the parishioners of St Mary Magdalen's went down to Aylesford and got there in good time. It only took about 40 minutes to get around the queue on Rosary Way to venerate the relics of the dear Little Flower. Having venerated the relics of St Therese and said a few prayers asking for her powerful intercession for my needs and those dear to me, the day felt enormously filled with Grace. The sun came out for the Votive Mass and Mass had all the glorious cacophany of praise for God and the Church Triumphant for which one could wish. Particularly beautiful was the procession of the Relics through the centre aisle and then the arrival of the fully vestmented Archbishop of Southwalk, as Clergy and Faithful called upon the prayers of English Saints and Martyrs, as well as numerous Saints of God, with a very loud and final, "St Therese of Lisieux, pray for us!"

Confessions took place before and after Mass in a little garden nearby and the place was utterly rammed with Catholics and I dare say a few enquirers as well. A Carmelite priest gave a cracking homily on the life of St Therese and how relevant she is today. It was a once in a lifetime experience and a day I will always treasure. The flamboyant, Carmelite choir leader ensured there was a rousing, triumphant 'Magnificat! Praise God!' at the end. Better than the Proms! Splendid stuff!

On Sunday night I tried to drive my girlfriend and a friend of her family to the Carmelite Church in Kensington, London to venerate the Relics there as well, but the queue for the small church was so big that the family friend, who could only walk with the aid of crutches decided to go there later on when things had quietened down. Just goes to show how much attention and interest St Therese has inspired among the Faithful and, I expect, the non-Faithful as well!

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