ALTHOUGH thunder rumbled around early on, brilliant sunshine-Our Lady's weather-overcame the clouds at Aylesford on Sunday when some 4,000 to 5,000 people attended High Mass, an ordination, and the laying of the foundation stone of the new shrine-church of Our Lady of the Assumption.
And, according to the reckoning of. the Prior, Fr. Malachy, this was the last occasion when the Solemnity of Feast of Carmel would be celebrated at Aylesford with an uncovered altar. He plans that the shrinechurch and cloisters (illustrated in THE CATHOLIC HERALD last week) shall be finished in time for dedication this time next year. Sunday's great crowd, one of the biggest since the relics of St. Simon Stock returned to Aylesford in 1951, witnessed the ordination of a Carmelite, Fr. H. Alphonsus Brenman, who had come from Rome for the ceremony performed by Bishop Cowderoy of Southwark.
Fr. Alphonsus, will spend his life working for the conversion of England. When, in the afternoon, Bishop Cowderoy, who interrupted his holiday to perform the ceremonies at Aylcsford, laid the foundation stone of the new shrine-church, he was attended by a Knight of Malta and a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre, Count Paul Czerwinski and Col. Castelli.
The Bishop referred in his address to his first visit to Aylesford when be was made bishop and the chill he felt when he walked around the place which was then
almost a ruin. He recalled. too. how he then said to the Prior that despite the desolation "The Friars" would become a great place of prayer and one of the great shrines of Our Lady in the world.
He was all admiration for what had been done by the Friars. He spoke of his cathedral and of its rededication and how tired he felt at the end of all the ceremonies. Now. he said, he had come to Aylesford where he knew Our
Lady would restore him.
St. George's, commented Bishop Cowderoy, is the Bishop's seat from which he governs his diocese .. but Aylesford can be called the heart of the diocese. Already, he added, the number of people who have been helped by Aylesford is countless. People broken in body and mind go for help to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and very mans owe the great gift of Faith to their coming to this shrine.