Wednesday, 19 October 2011
LMS day at Aylesford
The Friary of Aylesford, home of the Carmelites, was dissolved by Henry VIII but recovered in the 20th century. Part was restored and some new chapels built, many of them decorated with ceramics by Adam Kossowski. The Relic Chapel houses the reliquary for the skull of St Simon Stock to whom Our Lady appeared, granting the brown scapular as a sign of her prayers and protection.
Since my childhood I have frequently visited the shrine and still love to go around the different chapels. It is one of those places that has a holiness that seems to seep through the stones. You could go there blindfold and know that it was hallowed by centuries of devotion.
The Relic Chapel has a side chapel in honour of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1970, and a Carmelite Chapel which includes some unhaloed images of saints since beatified or canonised, such as Blessed Titus Brandsma and St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.
Last Saturday I celebrated Mass there for the Latin Mass Society. The attendance was impressive - more than I remember from previous occasions - and the music, directed by Matthew Schellhorn, was sublime. In the afternoon, I gave a spiritual talk on the four last things, then Benediction, followed by the blessing of brown scapulars.
The Friars are always welcoming to us and most helpful in providing everything needed for the traditional Mass - they have some fine vestments and old books, too. One day, I'd love to be a sacred minister at High Mass using their papally-indulted blue High Mass set!
The above photo is taken from Joseph Shaw's flickr set where there are many more.