Thousands attend Mass at Kent Shrine


Over 7,000 Catholics from across Southwark diocese attended Mass at Aylesford Priory, Kent, on Saturday.

The Archbishop of Southwark, Kevin McDonald, presided at the special Southwark diocesan Mass to celebrate the Year of the Eucharist. The theme of the day was "Stay with us, Lord" taken from the Apostolic Letter of John Paul II, "Mane nobiscum, Domine".

Over 110 coaches brought more than 7,000 to the shrine, including Bishop John Hine, auxiliary in Southwark and Bishop Charles Henderson and Bishop Tripp. The Prior of Aylesford, Fr. Francis Kemsley, welcomed all to the shrine before the opening procession of 150 priests and thirty deacons.

In his homily the Archbishop asked the people to reflect on two words: remembering and recognition. In referring to the rejection of the European Constitution by two countries he said that what was significant was the reluctance of those who wrote it to refer to the spiritual and cultural roots of Europe in Christianity. In quoting the Gospel story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus he said, "Today is an opportunity to recognize Jesus Christ". He stated that "the fundamental issue of our day is faith in Jesus Christ, recognizing the love of God for each of us, and evangelizing- sharing, telling what we have received". There was a period of adoration and a procession and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament which included fifty altar severs.

Archbishop McDonald commented afterwards that "the Day of the Eucharist in Aylesford was a wonderful day. We were blessed with beautiful weather and it was a great opportunity to celebrate the Eucharist as a diocese. I am very grateful to all those who came and to all who helped to organize it."

For more information please contact Greg Watts on 020 7901-4804.

Archbishop of Southwark's Sermon