Pilgrims Way Summer 2020

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’Way s m i r g Pil Journal of the Society of Our Lady of Lourdes

Issue 35 Summer 2020

Index Page 1

News from Lourdes


Lourdes Theme for 2020


Reflections on Lourdes Theme


9 11 12 15 17 19 22 23

Virtual Pilgrimage to Lourdes ­ p 6 Chairman’s message ­ p 7 Archbishop Kevin McDonald’s welcome The Assumption of the BVM – Pope Benedict Sites of Apparitions of Our Lady across the world Apparitions of Our Lady in Europe Our lives are in God’s hands Icon: a Living Prayer Aylesford Priory Requiescant in Pace Your Letters


Let’s smile


Bonus Ball and Centenary Club Winners

Back Cover: Membership Application Form

Front page: The Assumption of the Virgin is a large altarpiece (1515–1518) by the Italian Renaissance artist Titian. It remains in the position it was designed for, on the high altar of the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, the Friary church in Venice. It is the largest altarpiece in the city, with the figures well over life­size, made necessary by the size of the church, and the considerable distance between the altar and the congregation.

The Grotto reopens to pilgrims Mgr. Olivier Ribadeau­Dumas


ince 17th March, the date on which lockdown started in our country, the priests, deacons and religious in the service of the Sanctuary have been at the Grotto of Massabielle, one after another, from morning to night, presenting our suffering world to Mary Immaculate. They have been offering to her more than 130,000 prayer intentions that people have sent us in all languages and from all continents of the world. It was a splendid mission and a weighty responsibility for all of us. We lived through it in communion with you because we knew that, through television and social media networks, you were in communion with us. We prayed together. This continuous prayer ended with the Pope’s meditation in front of the Lourdes Grotto in the Vatican gardens on Saturday 30th May at 5:30 p.m. Travel is possible once again in France and will be soon in Europe. The “chapelains” will of course continue to pray for all the intentions which they receive, especially on the 11th of each month and during the rosaries, which will continue to be broadcast every day in several languages. But the Grotto is now open to pilgrims who can once again offer their prayers in person to Our Lady of Lourdes. A new phase is starting: a phase which will see the return of pilgrimages, and pilgrims. Lourdes needs them and they need Lourdes. Come to the Grotto of Massabielle! You know that Mary’s smile is waiting for you there! Mgr Olivier Ribadeau Dumas


Distancing in Lourdes

Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes Hail Mary, lowly handmaid of the Lord, Glorious Mother of Christ, Faithful Virgin, holy dwelling­place of the Word, teach us to persevere in listening to the Word, docile to the voice of the Spirit and attentive to his promptings in the depths of our conscience and to his manifestations in the events of history. Hail Mary, Woman of sorrows, Mother of the living, Virgin spouse beneath the Cross, the new Eve, be our guide along the paths of the world. Teach us to experience and to spread the love of Christ, to stand with you before the innumerable crosses on which your Son is still crucified. Hail Mary, Woman of faith, First of the disciples, Virgin Mother of the Church, help us always to account for the hope that is in us, with trust in human goodness and the Father’s love. Teach us to build up the world beginning from within: in the depths of silence and prayer, in the joy of fraternal love, in the unique fruitfulness of the Cross. Pope John Paul II 2

2020 ­ Lourdes Theme of the Year "I AM THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION"


his year’s suggested theme takes the last words that Mary spoke to Bernadette, thus drawing to an end her conversation with the girl who wanted to know who she was, “I am the Immaculate Conception”. In planning this theme, Father Cabes and those with whom he worked did not intend it to be a treatise on Marian theology, but rather a unique opportunity for each pilgrim to find that original innocence, beyond their sin. Reconciliation remains at the heart of the Sanctuary’s pastoral work. Yes, in this “wonderful and dramatic” world as Paul VI said, not everything is murky, lost, or rotten. It is possible for us to have hope. This hope is an experience that we constantly renew: an experience of the gift freely given and of the encounter: an experience of the truth that is possible in our lives particularly when we sit in front of the Grotto. There, we have no fear of being judged but, on the contrary, we feel welcomed as we are, an experience of Life stronger than anything and which constantly invites us to be reborn. Mary, the Immaculate, is a woman completely open to the action of God in her. Conceived without sin, she presents no obstacle to the transforming power of Love. She is thus our mother but also our sister on this sometimes harsh path of humanity, our model in listening to the Word made flesh. Thus, the Immaculate Conception is both a name and a mission: to transmit to the world, without impediment, the love of God for everyone. We received this mission in the grace of baptism. This theme, that will nourish our pilgrimages throughout 2020, has a lot to do with baptismal grace. God offers us salvation, the object of his promise. And God keeps his promises. We experience this in the Church. Pilgrimages are great experiences of the Church. This theme allows us to grasp once again its beauty and its richness and to experience a true spiritual adventure with Mary. Mgr Olivier Ribadeau Dumas Rector of the Sanctuary of Lourdes 3

Aspects of the pastoral theme for Lourdes 2020,

‘I am the Immaculate Conception’ The following thoughts are taken from the presentation of the pastoral theme prepared by the Rector and chaplains of the Lourdes Sanctuary for pilgrims in 2020.

t was at the third apparition, 18th February 1858, that Bernadette, egged on by the adults accompanying her, respectfully asked the Lady, “Madam, would you be so kind as to put your name in writing?” The Lady smiled saying, “That will not be necessary”, but continued in a similarly respectful tone, “Would you do me the honour of coming here each day for a fortnight?”


Through this exchange the Lady declined to give her name as though it were a label but offered Bernadette instead the opportunity of getting to know her as a person. “We spoke as one person talks to another”, Bernadette would explain. Over the next few weeks Bernadette faced many difficulties as she tried to fulfil her promise to come to the Grotto. On some occasions she was disappointed because the Lady did not come. But, on fourteen days she did appear, sometimes silent, sometimes giving her messages for the priests and the public – “Penance! penance! penance!” “Go and tell the priests to build a chapel here. I want people to come in procession.” – but also engaging in intimate private conversation with Bernadette. The crowds saw expressions of joy and sadness pass across 4

Bernadette’s face, reflecting those she alone could see on the Lady. The fourteenth day came and went; the spring had been unearthed and begun to flow; yet still the Lady had not disclosed her name. Then, early in the morning of 25th March, Bernadette felt a great urge to return to the Grotto, which she had not visited for three weeks. The Lady came and Bernadette repeated her question, which had become urgent because the parish priest refused to act on the Lady’s request until she provided her name. At the fourth request the Lady opened her arms towards the ground and in a single movement raised them again joining her hands at her breast, she raised her eyes towards heaven and said in Bernadette’s local dialect, “I am the Immaculate Conception”. Bernadette had no idea what the title meant but repeated the words to herself parrot fashion as she ran to blurt them out to the parish priest. He was so overcome that he did not enlighten her but merely challenged the verbal construction and sent her away brusquely saying they would discuss the matter later. It was not till that evening that a sympathetic layman, who had been following her story

and witnessed some of her interrogations by the authorities, explained the meaning to her. There were many at the time who, like the parish priest, thought that Bernadette must have somehow confused the words spoken by the Lady. They instantly recognised the title as referring to the Virgin Mary, whose immaculate conception, honoured by the Faithful for centuries, had been solemnly defined by Pope Pius IX only four years previously. “But”, they argued, “a person cannot be a conception”. She must have said something like, “I am the immaculate virgin” or, “the one who was conceived immaculate”. Bernadette stuck to her version. So what can we see as the deeper meaning that can be drawn from Our Lady’s words? Mary’s conception took place at a moment in time but she does not refer to herself as one who is the beneficiary of a past event. She says, “I AM” echoing language used by her Son, “I am the way, the truth and the life”. Her immaculate conception has an eternal significance. For a long time theologians had objected that

Mary could not have been preserved from original sin, since, like all the human race, her redemption had to await the sacrificial life and death of her Son. It was a British theologian of the 13th century who resolved this problem by arguing that God who chose Mary from the beginning preserved her from sin from the first moment of her conception by applying to her the merits that her Son was later to gain. Mary’s “Yes” to the angel, though freely given, was known to God from the beginning. Through that acceptance Mary would open herself completely to God’s saving power and allow herself to be intimately associated with her Son’s saving sacrifice. It was for this unique role that she was preserved immaculate, to be God’s perfect creature, the model and exemplar of all that we are called to be. In choosing this title and through the beautiful gesture in which she lifted her arms and looked up to heaven, Mary referred all her gifts to God, “who has looked down on the lowliness of his handmaid”.

Every yes to God creates stories of salvation for us and for others. [...] God desires and awaits our 'yes'. Pope Francis


SOLL Virtual Pilgrimage 2020 Prevented by lockdown restrictions in both Britain and France from mounting our annual pilgrimage to Lourdes this year, Council decided instead to organise a virtual pilgrimage. Led by Archbishop Kevin McDonald in his welcoming and encouraging guidance on the Sunday, our pilgrimage priests contributed reflections appropriate for celebrations we had intended to hold each day in Lourdes. These were followed by contributions from pupils of St Michael’s School. We give below the texts of our Chairman, Dave Farrow’s message and Archbishop Kevin’s welcome address. However, the whole of the virtual pilgrimage remains online at www.soll­lourdes.com to allow those who could not participate at the time to access it through the medium of a friend or helper.

22nd May, 2020

Message from our Chairman, Dave Farrow


oday we should have travelled on SOLL’s annual pilgrimage to Lourdes. Many I suspect may pause to reflect on what they might have been doing during this week. This is the second time in our history that the Society has not travelled to Lourdes, and the first time it is not attributable to human conflict. Amid a plethora of stats and forecasts, debate on cause and remediation in an age sometimes described as post Christian, the challenges faced by those with existing conditions, isolation and hardship have been to the fore and have been met overwhelmingly with a kind and empathetic response in Britain and around the world – a spirit even. So many have responded: people are willing and want to help, whether assisting with fetching and carrying, having a chat, 6

or showing appreciation for the work of others. For those of us who have been on pilgrimage this is not new. We do all these things every year in the south of France – even the clapping. This year, though, we have not gone to Lourdes; Lourdes has come to us. Some have grown their faith during lockdown, others have lost it or will not miss the pilgrimage experience. One year I did not go and didn’t miss it, to the obvious disappointment of the many who asked. But when I came back, the welcome and the break renewed my enthusiasm and I was pleased I was there. If you are one of those who conclude “that’s it”, please come back one more time next year and if the reset button doesn’t work for you, maybe let Our Lady know what you think down at the Grotto and see what she says.

In 2021 we prepare to return to Lourdes. Arrangements for travel were a challenge anyway, especially from the West Country, they are obviously even harder in the future. So the Society needs your support and the support of those you know because we want to go back BIG and tap that spirit – that desire to help others

– that has been so evident in 2020 in our homes and communities. You are invited to join the events during our pilgrimage week. The theme this year is "I am the Immaculate Conception." Dave Farrow

Archbishop Kevin McDonald’s Welcome


t this time, we should of course be in Lourdes for the annual pilgrimage of the Society, but, for reasons we are all well aware of, that is not happening. The theme or the theme that would have been ours this year is the words of Mary ‘I am the Immaculate Conception’ and I want to share with you some of the things I might have said at the opening Mass had the pilgrimage gone ahead. One of the most important moments of the series of visions that Our Lady granted to St Bernadette came on the 25 March 1958, when Our Lady, speaking in Bernadette’s own language, which wasn’t French but the local patois, said to her the words: ‘I am the Immaculate Conception’. But of course, Bernadette had no idea what this meant; it is interesting to remember that point as we are quite familiar with the words ‘I am the Immaculate Conception’. That meeting took place just four years after Pope Pius IX proclaimed the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception that Our Lady was born without the stain of original sin. But what does that mean? Well essentially it means that in the human person – this is what original sin is – there is a certain tendency to evil, it’s part of the human condition. This doesn’t mean of course that people are completely evil, but it means that, in the human condition, there is a certain propensity to selfishness that’s inherent in us and sadly when we look at history and at the world, there is plenty of evidence for that. And so Our Lady was free from that; but you may say that’s OK for Our Lady, she was free of sin, but what about us? To which I would be inclined to reply that what was given to Our Lady at the outset from the moment of her conception is given to us gradually and progressively by the grace of the Holy Spirit throughout our lives. Through prayer, the sacraments and the Holy Spirit, we grow; we become better people, we change, we are called to go beyond our tendencies to selfishness and to learn to live in love, love of God and love of others. And so life itself is a kind of pilgrimage, a journey to a deeper and more abundant life. I am sure that many of you, during lockdown, during this strange time we live in, have 7

had something of a pilgrimage yourselves with more time for prayer. I have been going virtually to the Pope’s Mass; and that’s a bit like a retreat for me, hearing his words of wisdom. I do hope you are using this time to allow the Holy Spirit to work in your lives gradually and progressively as it worked in Our Lady. Our pilgrimage to Lourdes would have been a great opportunity to open ourselves to the gifts of the Holy Spirit and to the growth in new life that the Spirit offers. But this year it won’t be that way. I am confident that the Holy Spirit has been at work in your lives, healing, forgiving and calling you afresh to take time during these days to consider and to ponder how the Holy Spirit has been working in your life. I want to read a prayer to the Holy Spirit, which is today’s prayer in the novena to the Holy Spirit, which you are invited to say. if you have it with you can say it with me, otherwise just listen: O Heavenly Father, You have called me to be a member of the mystical body of Your Son, Jesus Christ, and to be a temple of the Holy Spirit. I ask You to give me these gifts of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom, that I may understand the follies of this world; Understanding, that I may grasp more fully the meaning of my existence and the purpose of all things in the world; Counsel, that I may always choose the proper way; Fortitude, that I may remain faithful to You under the pressure of temptation; Piety, that I may revere You in all I do, think or say; Fear of the Lord, that, should the motive of love fail me, I may quickly be awakened to the eternal consequences of my deeds. Visit me by Your grace and Your love and grant me the favour I so earnestly seek in this novena… What are we looking for from God at this moment? Just ask God what you are looking for... Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your love.

And may Almighty God bless you: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen 8


Dear Brothers and Sisters, On 1 November 1950, Venerable Pope Pius XII proclaimed as Dogma that the Virgin Mary “having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory”. This truth of faith was known by Tradition, was affirmed by the Fathers of the Church, and was a particularly important aspect in the veneration of the Mother of Christ. Precisely this devotional element, so to speak, was the driving force behind the formulation of this Dogma. The Dogma appears as an act of praise and exaltation of the Holy Virgin. It also emerges from the text of the Apostolic Constitution, where it affirms that the Dogma is proclaimed for “the honour of her Son... for the increase of the glory of that same august Mother, and for the joy and exultation of the entire Church”. What was already celebrated in the veneration and devotion of the People of God as the highest and most permanent glorification of Mary was thus expressed in the form of a dogma; the act of the proclamation of the Assumption was presented almost as a liturgy of faith. And

in the Gospel, Mary herself prophetically pronounces a few words that orientate us in this perspective. She says: “For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed” (Lk 1:48). It is a prophecy for the whole history of the Church. These words of the Magnificat, recorded by St Luke, indicate that praising the Blessed Virgin, Mother of God, intimately united to Christ her Son, involves the Church of all ages and of all places. The fact that the Evangelist noted these words presupposes that the glorification of Mary was already present in the time of St Luke and he considered it to be a duty and a commitment of the Christian community for all generations. Mary’s words tell us that it is a duty of the Church to remember the greatness of Our Lady for the faith. This Solemnity is an invitation to praise God, and to look upon the greatness of Our Lady, for we know who God is in the faces of those who belong to him. But why is Mary glorified by her Assumption into Heaven? St Luke, as we have heard, sees the roots of the exaltation 9

and praise of Mary in Elizabeth’s words: “Blessed is she who believed” (Lk 1:45). And the Magnificat, this canticle to God, alive and active in history is a hymn of faith and love, which springs from the heart of the Virgin. She lived with exemplary fidelity and kept in the inmost depths of her heart the words of God to his people, the promises he made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, making them the content of her prayer: the Word of God in the Magnificat became the word of Mary, the lamp for her journey, thus preparing her to receive even in her womb the Word of God made flesh. The Gospel passage recalls this presence of God in history and in the unfolding of events; in particular, there is a reference to the Second Book of Samuel Chapter Six (6:1-15), in which David moves the Holy Ark of the Covenant. The comparison is clear to the Evangelist: Mary expecting the birth of her Son Jesus is the Holy Ark that contains the presence of God, a presence that is a source of consolation, of total joy. John, in fact, leaps in Elizabeth’s womb, just as David danced before the Ark. Mary is the “visit” of God that creates joy. Zechariah, in his song of praise says explicitly: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people” (Lk 1:68). The house of Zechariah 10

experienced the visit of God by the unexpected birth of John the Baptist, but above all by the presence of Mary, who bore within her womb the Son of God. But now let us ask ourselves: how does the Assumption of Mary help our journey? The first answer is: in the Assumption we see that in God there is room for man, God himself is the house with many rooms of which Jesus speaks (cf. Jn 14:2); God is man’s home, in God there is God’s space. And Mary, by uniting herself, united to God, does not distance herself from us. She does not go to an unknown galaxy, but whoever approaches God comes close to her, for God is close to us all; and Mary, united to God, who shares in the presence of God, is so close to us, to each one of us. There is a beautiful passage from St Gregory the Great on St Benedict that we can apply to Mary too. St Gregory the Great says that the heart of St Benedict expanded so much that all creation could enter it. This is even truer of Mary: Mary, totally united to God, has a heart so big that all creation can enter this heart, and the ex-votos in every part of the earth show it. Mary is close, she can hear us, she can help us, she is close to everyone of us. In God there is room for man and God is close, and Mary, united to God, is very close; she has a heart as great as the heart of God. Continued on page 14

World Map of the apparitions of OurLady




(Continued from page10)

But there is also another aspect: in God not only is there room for man; in man there is room for God. This too we see in Mary, the Holy Ark who bears the presence of God. In us there is space for God and this presence of God in us, so important for bringing light to the world with all its sadness, with its problems. This presence is realized in the faith: in the faith we open the doors of our existence so that God may enter us, so that God can be the power that gives life and a path to our existence. In us there is room, let us open ourselves like Mary opened herself, saying: “Let your will be done, I am the servant of the Lord”. By opening ourselves to God, we lose nothing. On the contrary, our life becomes rich and great.

expecting us and, on going to that other world, we find the goodness of the Mother, we find our loved ones, we find eternal Love. God is waiting for us: this is our great joy and the great hope that is born from this Feast. Mary visits us, and she is the joy of our life and joy is hope.

And so, faith and hope and love are combined. Today there is much discussion on a better world to be awaited: it would be our hope. If and when this better world comes, we do not know, I do not know. What is certain is that a world which distances itself from God does not become better but worse. Only God’s presence can guarantee a good world. Let us leave it at that.

Let us entrust ourselves to her Motherly intercession to obtain for us from God a strengthened faith in eternal life; may she help us to live the best way the time that God has given us with hope. May it be a Christian hope, that is not only nostalgia for Heaven, but a living and active desire for God who is here in the world, a desire for God that makes us tireless pilgrims, nourishing in us the courage and the power of faith, which at the same time is the courage and the power of love. Amen.

One thing, one hope is certain: God expects us, waits for us, we do not go out into a void, we are expected. God is 14

What is there to say then? A great heart, the presence of God in the world, room for God within us and room for us in God, hope, being expected: this is the symphony of this Feast, the instruction that meditating on this Solemnity gives us. Mary is the dawn and the splendour of the Church triumphant; she is the consolation and the hope of people still on the journey, as it says in today’s Preface.

Pope Benedict XVI 15 August 2012

Our lives are in God’s hands The brave testimony of Nesma Wael, a 13­year­old Christian girl Aid to the Church in Need – Egypt – 2018

After Mass ended, I left the church with my cousin and my mother. My mother wore a cross around her neck, and all three of us were not wearing veils. In poorer areas, Muslim women often wear veils to separate themselves from Christian women. As we turned into a side street, we saw someone on a motorcycle heading towards the church. The next thing we knew, the man crashed his bike after hitting a hole in the road. My mother ran up to help him and she said: ‘In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, are you okay?’ He got up quickly and opened fire on us with a machine gun which he pulled from under his vest. As soon as my cousin and I saw the weapon, we hid behind my mother, who shouted at us to run. The gunman then shot her in the arm while she was trying to protect us. She fell down and couldn’t escape with us. The gunman was only a few feet away. My cousin and I ran into a small supermarket, where the shop assistant hid us behind the fridge. As we hid, we could see the gunman looking for us. When he couldn’t find us he turned to my mother again and fired more shots at her. It felt like all this happened in a few minutes. After the gunman left, we ran to where my mother was lying. I kept screaming for someone to help me, but no one did. I reached my uncle, who came right away. An ambulance came but the paramedics refused to move my mother into the ambulance until they had received permission from security officials. As we waited, another gun battle broke out and people fled. My cousin, my uncle and I stayed with my mother. She looked at me, saying: ‘Do not be afraid, I’m with you. Obey your father and take care of your sister.' 15

My mother lay on the street for about an hour. After the shooting stopped, I went back to the church to pick up my eight-year-old sister, Karen, who had stayed behind in church because the children’ s service had not yet finished. In front of the church, I saw three people I knew lying in pools of blood. By the time mum was taken into the ambulance, she had died. Today, I do not walk the streets alone anymore – I am always with my father. I miss my mother very much but I am happy because she is a martyr and I don’t feel afraid of the terrorists anymore. I hope to become a doctor one day because that was my mother’s dream for me. This is my message to all the persecuted people around the world: ‘Don’t be afraid! Our lives are in God’s hands and we have our faith.’

13 year­old Nesma Wael (left) and her younger sister Karen.


The Icon: Living Prayer Marie­Helene Cook


hen I was a child, I thought icons were a bit frightening, even though they gave me a feeling of awe and reverence. Only later I discovered that the reason why they did not attract me was they were not pictures speaking to one’s sensitivity or emotions. They were not to be admired by the eyes of our body but by the eyes of our soul. An icon is not only a sacred picture, a religious and liturgical image, it is also a prayer, a living prayer. Since the artist spent a long time in prayer, silence and solitude before and during the painting, the icon is the work of the Holy Spirit. The painter, a tool in God’s Hand, must decrease to let God increase, as St Paul says. To a certain extent one may regard his work as a ‘journey of purification’. We may even consider that, so long as the artist remains humble and prayerful, his creation of the icon, from his purified heart, is the work of God; it is He who creates its dynamic quality and ensures its truth; it is He who allows the sacred and eternal image to take shape under the painter's brush. The artist does not feel any pride, on the contrary he grows in humility and awe. The work of the Holy Spirit doesn’t stop there: God will continue to act in the heart of the viewer who takes time to contemplate the work of art. This icon will

nourish the soul of the beholder in a unique and personal way. It is as if the prayer of the artist meets the prayer of the beholder in an intimate encounter. St Basil goes to the heart of the matter: "If we are illumined by divine power, and fix our eyes on the beauty of the invisible God, and, through the image, are led up to the indescribable beauty of its source, it is because we have been inseparably joined to the Spirit of Knowledge. He gives those who love the vision of truth the power which enables them to see the image, and this power is Himself”. Then St Basil remarks: "it is impossible for you to recognize Christ, the Image of the invisible God, unless the Spirit enlightens you". “The image of Christ is engraved on the human heart. The very aim of our life is to manifest this interior icon.” When we regard an icon, we can understand why the Church recognises icons as sacramentals. They express and communicate the eternal presence of God; at the same time they lead us to contemplate God in prayer, not only in private but also as part of the Church community of believers, through faith and under the invisible operation of divine grace. MH Cook 17

The presence of icons in Churches, as the priests celebrate and the faithful pray, is the realization of that moment when the mystery of the communion of saints in adoration of the Trinitarian God will be accomplished: the communion of all who were pleasing to God and who form the praying Church of today and of centuries to come. And the veneration of icons in the worship of the Church is of even greater importance, because it draws the faithful who venerate them closer to God, to the hypostatic presence of the persons portrayed and to the sacramental gestures celebrated in the fear of the Lord. Patriarch Dimitrios I (Encyclical, 15 September 1987, No. 30)

Art for art’s sake, which only refers to the author, without



relationship with the divine world, does not have its place in the Christian concept of the icon. No matter what style is adopted, all sacred art must express the faith and hope of the Church. The tradition of the icon shows that the artist must be conscious of fulfilling a mission of service to the Church. Pope John Paul II (Duodecimum Saeculum, No. 11)

St Basil 18

Aylesford Priory


ylesford Priory is the principal house of the Carmelite religious order which came to Kent in 1242. In 1247, it was officially recognised by the Bishop of Rochester and hosted the first General Chapter of the Order outside the Holy Land. The Chapter effectively changed the lifestyle of the Carmelites from hermits to mendicant friars. In 1348 at the Vigil of the Feast of the Holy Cross, the site of the cemetery and the new church were blessed, but the church was not consecrated until 1417, possibly delayed by the Black Death. Alas, in 1538 the Friars of Aylesford were forced out of the priory to return only 400 years later in 1949. In its 750­year history, the place has changed use many times. After the Reformation, the property was converted into a stately home. Royalists during the Civil War, merchant bankers, Second World War servicemen and even the leader of a Scout group have all left their mark. In 1949, it was put up for sale, enabling the Carmelites to buy back their motherhouse. Fr Malachy Lynch, the first Prior, began restoring the buildings. The tranquil gardens were restored, and chapels were built and adorned with distinguished ceramic artworks. Among the artists were Adam Kossowski*, who made the ceramics and L. Clark and his

son Michael, both sculptors. Fr Malachy described The Friars as "a prayer in stone". In partnership with Adrian Gilbert Scott, Fr Malachy conceived the idea of the open­air shrine and gathered craftsmen and artists to help him. Building commenced in 1958 and the Shrine was dedicated to the Glorious Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1965. It now serves as a centre of prayer for all Christians in Kent and beyond, a place of peace for everyone. The Friars is now part of the life of the County of Kent – both religious and social. A good number of organisations enjoy using the facilities for meetings and celebrations. The beauty of the place and the works of art have also attracted the media, and over the past decade a number of programmes have been broadcast by the BBC and ITV. Here, prayer and work are intertwined; while personal and public prayer are at the core of their lives, the friars are also busy serving the wider community. Each friar has his area of work at the priory (administration, maintenance, giving retreats or counselling etc.). As the priory is a major pilgrimage centre, the community does all it can to take care of the spiritual needs of pilgrims who come from a variety of backgrounds. They want to serve the people through friendship, 19

hospitality and a desire to live out Christ’s preaching: love, justice, peace and mercy. They are ready to be available to support anyone who seeks God, or needs spiritual help, or wants to go deeper in their relationship with God. Some friars work outside, in prison work, school, hospital, chaplaincy and local radio among other fields of activity. This is the main difference between friars and monks: both have a community life, but friars, supported by their fraternity, go out and work among people, spreading gospel values. Contemplation remains at the heart of their life – a search for the face of God, an openness to the Spirit, in allegiance to Jesus Christ. From this flows a desire to live as brothers and serve the needs of the people among whom they live. Their Rule

encourages them to value silence, pray the scriptures and try to let themselves be guided by the Spirit, individually and as a community. The Morning and Evening Prayers of the Church have a key role in their community life, without neglecting devotional prayers, such as the Rosary and other Marian devotions. Praying with a l i s t e n i n g heart effects a transformation in the life of the person who prays. Peace, quiet and solitude, even in a busy life, are essential for a contemplative approach. Carmelites come from personal prayer, often nourished by pondering the scriptures, to the Eucharist, which is the summit of prayer and binds into community. Based on excerpts from the Friars’ website: https://www.thefriars.org.uk/home

*Kossowski was born and studied in Poland, went east to escape the Nazis and found himself in a Russian gulag for several years. There he made a promise that, if he ever escaped he would devote himself to the service of God, and his promise was realised in the work he did for the Friars over a period of twenty years. On the right, one of his ceramics (12th Station of the Cross) at Aylesford Priory.


Sadly, this summer, we will not have our regular Pilgrimage of the Sick to Aylesford, but please keep in your diaries the date for next year: Sunday 15th August 2021.

In the meantime, if you want to go on a personal pilgrimage it is now possible. The Grounds are open The Tea Rooms are open The Gift Shop is open The Relic Chapel is open

10am to 5pm at weekends, 8am to 5pm during the week. 10am to 5pm at weekends 11am to 5pm during the week. 10am to 5pm at weekends, 11am to 5pm during the week. 2:30pm to 4:30pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday for PERSONAL PRAYER ONLY. There are stewards to ensure that guidelines are followed.

Whilst the Chapel is closed you may wish to visit the Rosary Way and Peace Garden.

Mass in the open air shrine 10.15am on Sunday, 12pm Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Toilet facilities open near the West Barn. Dining Hall is closed. 21

They have arrived Terry Armour Kathleen Bell Susan Brennan Dr Lucille Cameron­Mowat Terry Clancey Beryl Gaunt Bro Jonathan Gell Michael Griffin Hazel Hayward Sheila Kelly Roy King Margaret Lupak David Maunsell Tim McCarthy Thomas Murnane Bridie Murphy Kitty Riley Barbara Robertson Patricia Sutcliffe John Villiers Jack Webber

Richmond Keighley Harrow Loughton Pinner Malvern Leicester Wembley Amesbury Coventry Harlesden Ferndown Brompton Hayes Romford Enniscorthy Exeter Limehouse Keighley Letheringsett Exeter

Retired Handmaid Sick Pilgrim Life Friend Pilgrimage Doctor Praying Pilgrim Retired Handmaid Friend Praying Pilgrim Retired Nurse Life Friend Sick Pilgrim Life Friend Life Friend Helper ( Brancardier) Life Friend Retired Handmaid Sick Pilgrim Life Friend Praying Pilgrim Helper (Brancardier) Sick Pilgrim

REQUIESCANT IN PACE May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace, and may our Blessed Lady, Consoler of the Afflicted, pray for those who mourn.

Church tradition has always urged prayer for the dead, in particular by oering the celebration of the Eucharist for them: It is the best spiritual help that we can give to their souls, particularly to the most abandoned ones. Pope Francis 22

Your Letters *Theresa Hussey’s great niece, Sian Jasinska, wrote to SOLL saying that Theresa has not regained her strength and remains extremely fragile [...]

It is quite extraordinary that with your help she has continued to go on pilgrimage until last year, so many thanks for your support and care over the years. I know how much the pilgrimage has meant to her over many years.” *We thank Sr Lelia and Sr Edith for their prayers and special wishes for Easter. Their card quoted from 1 Corinthians, 15: "Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead [...] so in Christ all will be brought to life." *From Mr and Mrs Giovanni Gaudio “Thanking you all for your dedication and hard work you have put in running the Society. Truly appreciated! Thank you for remembering us in your prayers amid all this happening around us. May our good Lord Jesus, with his blood and water from his heart, be a font of mercy on us. God bless you all” We would like to hear more about you. If you have some comments to make on our articles, please send them to us, whether positive or negative. You can send them by post or email to SOLL or directly via email to: helen.music17@gmail.com..


Let’s smile !

It can’t be! I don’t believe it! 7 sisters at Seven Sisters Tube station? You’re right, it’s actually 8 if you look closely! (Two behind the pillar)

And 1 metre+ Grrrr !

Too good to be true!


Bonus Ball Winners – Jan to July 2020 04/01/20 11 11/01/20 18/01/20 25/01/20 01/02/20 08/02/20 15/02/20 22/02/20 29/02/20 07/03/20 14/03/20 21/03/20 28/03/20 04/04/20

14 11 42 52 21 18 17 9 42 14 41 11 25

Veronica Beckitt William Morgan Veronica Beckitt John Villiers Simon Chandler John Villiers David Davidson Paul Crossey Michael Chute Mary Barnard William Morgan Wiggy de Souza Veronica Beckitt Brenda Sleep

11/04/20 50 18/04/20 26 25/04/20 36 02/05/20 47 09/05/20 59 16/05/20 34 23/05/20 54 30/05/20 45 06/06/20 33 13/06/20 42 20/06/20 13 27/06/20 12 04/07/20 13

Simon Chandler Brian Bunting Ed Wilson Eileen Mahon Virginia Morgan Laurie Burns Kiran Rajalingham Walter McNeela Wiggy de Souza Mary Barnard Simon Chandler Anna Clarke Simon Chandler

Centenary Club Winners 2020 January 2020 1st Rosemarie Helene (42) 2nd Tom Casey (5) 3rd Simon Chandler (15) 4th Elizabeth Price (22)

April 2020 1st Rosemarie Helene (42) 2nd Alex Hinton (11) 3rd Chris Hay (36) 4th David Crowley (20)

February 2020 1st Elizabeth Price (2) 2nd Simon Chandler (15) 3rd Michael Chute (31) 4th Maria O’Brien (12)

May 2020 1st Elizabeth Price (2) 2nd Sheila Gardner (13) 3rd Mary McCarthy (39) 4th Anne Mann (16)

March 2020 1st Elizabeth Price (2) 2nd John Lamb (10) 3rd Michael Hennessey (18) 4th Ken Hay (41)

June 2020 1st Michael Hennessey (18) 2nd Tom Casey (5) 3rd Chris Hay (36) 4th Pat Symons (43)

The Society of Our Lady of Lourdes is a Company Limited by Guarantee and a Registered Charity. Company Reg. No. 4156243 Charity Reg. No.1086419


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