We had hoped to be able to write to you with the good news that the Shrine here in Faversham was open and fully functioning.
However, the resolution of this crisis is taking much longer than anyone anticipated. The Bishops in England and Wales have wisely insisted on a number of precautions that make it impossible for the moment to re-open the Shrine. Those of you who know the chapel dedicated to Saint Jude know how small it is. I doubt we could get more than two people in the Shrine at any one time!!
On the weekend before and on the Feast Day itself, of course, we normally have hundreds of pilgrims visiting us, but unfortunately the risks posed by these numbers means that we cannot have any public celebrations this year.
We are planning to transmit a Mass from the Shrine on the Feast Day which you can watch live or later. We are hoping this will take place at 12pm. I will be celebrating the Mass with the community here. We will also have a number of ‘talking heads’ videos about the Shrine and Saint Jude, as well as opportunities for prayer and reflection. You can join us on our very special website.
For those of you who are not online, we would like to ask you to consider joining us in praying the novena to Saint Jude at 11.30am every day for the nine days from 20 October . All your petitions will be with us at Mass and your candles will have been lit here or in other communities for his Feast.
As they say, ‘those that pray together, stay together’. Let’s all pray together those nine days and especially on the Feast and be together.
Of course, I never thought I would ever have to say this, but please join the Shrine online or via a local setting - the Shrine is sadly going to be closed for visits during the normal Feast weekend and day. Thank you for your understanding. Let’s pray together wherever you are instead.
Fr Kevin Alban, O.Carm