The Carmelite Prior Provincial in Britain, Fr. Kevin Alban, O.Carm., wrote on 18th March 2020 ...
The Shrine Office staff will now be working from home. Please be assured that, even though we are unable to access our office, we will still be able to respond to e-mails and phone calls. Any post sent to us will be held by the amazing staff at the Post Office in Faversham. Our online services remain live and your petitions and prayers will still be left with Saint Jude.
However, we have now reached the point where masses, except funerals, have been suspended from the evening of Friday 20 March. It is expected that similar restrictions will be announced in Scotland.
A very strong part of Catholic identity is communal worship at Sunday Mass, and many people will find the lack of this very difficult. The Carmelites are continuing to pray for all the people who come to our churches and the Shrine of Saint Jude, as well as for the country at large, and all those affected by the pandemic.
There will be further announcements about ways in which we will try to be of service in these difficult times. In the meantime, we are all encouraged to pray.
One of the key elements in Christian spirituality is that there is a relationship, in each one of us, between our very self and God. While the external, communal dimension is important and necessary, nonetheless, each one of us as an individual is called to live a personal relationship with God. Saint Teresa of Avila expresses this most beautifully: “The soul of each one is nothing else but a paradise where the Lord says He finds His delight.”
The situation we now find ourselves in is without precedent in recent history – even during the Second World War there was Mass! However, our tradition offers us support and ways of coping. Here is an occasion to deepen our individual relationship with the Lord.
At the Shrine of Saint Jude, we have various online services that will keep running throughout this period of uncertainty (please click on the boxes below): you can visit the Shrine online and pray via our live-feed, or you can light a virtual candle with a physical one being lit for you too. Remember we will keep praying for you and I know Saint Jude will stay with you - he is a friend to all of us and he is the Saint of Hope.
Saint Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles appointed by Jesus to lead his Church. Jude is today revered as a saint with widespread devotion among Christians of many denominations, especially Roman Catholics, Orthodox, and Anglicans. Saint Jude is the patron saint of various groups and places, and is best known as the patron of "desperate" or "difficult" cases (a term used in preference to the older title of "hopeless" cases, since with God no situation is hopeless).
Every day at 2pm (or thereabouts), we will post a prayer online for us all to say together so we are in communion wherever we are. Don't forget the special prayer written by the Development Manager earlier this week for all those infected by Covid-19 and the care-workers who are helping them. You can read the prayer, here. Our prayers will be added to this page each day.
Our online services are below:
You may also find the following resources helpful in the coming weeks:
- The Prayer of the Church (the Divine Office) links us across parishes, dioceses, the country, and indeed the world in a union of worship.
- The prayerful reading of Scripture known as Lectio Divina brings us into contact with the living Word of God.
- Reading the prayers and scripture in the Missal for a given day, perhaps combined with the practice of making a spiritual communion.
- The use of specially devised prayers in time of sickness can be a great comfort (download in PDF format).
- The practice of various meditation techniques such as Centering Prayer, or the Practice of the Presence of God.
- Reading the spiritual classics of our tradition: Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Thérèse of Lisieux, and so on. Some of their writings can be found at: Christian Classics Ethereal Library; Thérèse Gateway; Story of a Soul.
- Taking part in televised services online. These are happening in various parishes, dioceses, and shrines. Resources include: Vatican News; Church Services TV; Walsingham National Shrine; Knock Shrine; Lourdes Shrine.
- Those with Facebook accounts will find resources there including Saint Jude, and a group set up especially by the Spirituality Committee of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales CCC - Christ, Covid, Community.
Let’s pray for one another at this time. See you at around 2pm each day on our Facebook pages and here.