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Carmelites open Doors of Mercy to pilgrims
15 January 2016

As the New Year begins, Carmelite friars at the Kent shrines of Aylesford and Faversham are ready to welcome pilgrims through the 'Doors of Mercy' set up specially for the Church's Year of Mercy.

In addition to the Holy Doors at certain basilicas in Rome, Pope Francis has urged dioceses and religious communities worldwide to establish Doors of Mercy through which pilgrims can pass as a sign of their devotion.

The Door of Mercy at Aylesford Priory is symbolically located at the confessionals, stressing the link between God's gift of mercy and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This will be the main entrance into the Relic Chapel for the duration of the Year of Mercy.

The Door of Mercy at Aylesford Carmelite Priory ('The Friars')

The door at Aylesford was blessed by the Prior, Fr. Damian Cassidy, O.Carm., during the community celebration of Mass on 13th December 2015.

The Prior of Aylesford, Fr. Damian Cassidy, preaching outside the Holy Door.

Passing through the door, pilgrims will find display panels containing the Year of Mercy Prayer, and biographies of various Christians who have demonstrated the qualities of mercy in their lives.

The Prior and Carmelite Community at Aylesford look forward to welcoming
pilgrims through the Door of Mercy this jubilee year.

At the National Shrine of Saint Jude in Faversham, the Door of Mercy was also opened on 13th December. The presider at the ceremony, representing the Prior Provincial of the British Province, was Fr. Kevin Melody, O.Carm.

Left: The Door of Mercy at Faversham contains beautiful stained glass.
Right: The Door being blessed from the outside of the Shrine.

Father Michael Manning, O.Carm., Chaplain to the National Shrine of Saint Jude, has written a reflection on the significance of Holy Doors for the Shrine Blog.