Long-standing friends of Saint Jude will be aware that periodically, following a Carmelite Provincial Chapter, changes sometimes happen. We are delighted to announce that, after a request by the Carmelites, Kevin Melody, O.Carm. has been appointed by Archbishop John Wilson as Prior and Parish Priest from 1 November. Richard Copsey will remain in Faversham. He and Kevin Melody will be joined by Brother Paul de Groot who has taken on the role of Shrine Chaplain.
Here Br. Paul introduces himself...
Despite my surprise that the white cloak of Elijah has descended on me to be your chaplain at the Shrine of Saint Jude, I hope to follow in the footsteps of my illustrious predecessors in accompanying all those touched by Saint Jude on their journey to come to a deeper relationship with Jesus.
My own journey has not always been clear to me. Certainly not a straightforward path; more like one step forward, two back with a few sideways to boot. After a degree in chemistry and a spell in an industrial library I was invited to throw my lot in with the Carmelites after a brief encounter when looking for a new job. Whole new worlds opened up to me in the novitiate and while studying in Rome which were sharply brought down to earth when asked to teach at our school in Cheltenham. Further studies then meant being moved to Hazlewood in Yorkshire for retreat work as part of an international team, and then a move to our new foundation in Aberdeen with university students. The intensive strain meant a period in a therapeutic community trying to discern a way forward which was followed by looking after Hazlewood until we sold it as the diocese had taken over the retreat work. Then back to Cheltenham for a time of physical work as caretaker where the novitiate was set up for a while.
Persuaded to give up the caretaking (a couple of hernias helped) I spent time in York as part of an ecumenical university chaplaincy and then to Aylesford with its various ministries to use all the skills acquired over 40 years.
And now with you to help each other to go deeper into the heart of God.
May Saint Jude guide us on our ways.