“The only worthwhile striving is after the highest ideals: If you aim for an easy target, your standard will inevitably decline, and no progress is ever made, except through real effort and real suffering.” - Servant of God Fra' Andrew Bertie

RECENT POSTS

NOVEMBER - MONTH OF THE HOLY SOULS

The month of November is traditionally dedicated to the Holy Souls, when we pray for the release of the souls in Purgatory, including our parents, family and friends.

Simply put, Purgatory is where those who have died in grace, but who have not fully atoned for the punishments resulting from their sins, go to finish their atonement before entering Heaven. A soul in Purgatory may suffer, but he ultimately has the assurance that he will enter Heaven when his punishment is complete.

As Christians, we don't travel through this world alone. Our salvation is wrapped up with the salvation of others, and charity requires us to come to their aid. The same is true of the Holy Souls. In their time in Purgatory, they can pray for us, and we should pray for them that they may be freed from the punishment for their sins and enter into Heaven.

We believe that those Holy Souls for whom we pray will continue to pray for us after they have been released from Purgatory. So if we, too, should die after confessing our sins, but before atoning fully for them, those souls for whom we have prayed will offer prayers for us while we are in Purgatory. It's a comforting thought, and one that should encourage us, especially in this month of November, to offer our prayers for the Holy Souls.

Monday 2nd November is the COMMEMORATION OF ALL THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED, and a Requiem Mass will be celebrated at 6.30pm.

During the following week, 1st to 8th, a Plenary Indulgence applicable to the Holy Souls may be obtained every day by a visit to a cemetery, or prayer for the dead if you are unable to visit, under the usual conditions of Holy Communion, sacramental confession, and prayer for the Holy Father's intentions.  On the 2nd November, the same indulgence applies to prayers for the dead in any church or chapel.

SATURDAY 31st OCTOBER

As part of the monthly Grand Priory Day of Recollection, Sung Mass of Our Lady's Saturday will be celebrated in the Church at 12 noon.


The office of Lauds will be sung at 10am; and Vespers, Holy Hour and Benediction at around 3.30pm, to which all are most welcome.

OCTOBER 15th. VISIT OF THE RELICS OF SAINT THERESE TO THE HOSPICE




In the evening of Thursday, after they left Westminster Cathedral, the relics of St Thérèse came to the Hospital of Saint John and Saint Elizabeth, and Saint John's Hospice.


The relics have been touring the country as part of their continuous mission around the world, following the Saint's wish to be a missionary, formally recognised by Pope John Paul II's declaration of her as Patron of Missions.


The visit to St John's Wood was planned to be for the benefit of the sick and dying, and several hundred pilgrims came to venerate the relics in the Conventual Church.


Many Hospice patients came to the church, and other pilgrims came from the local parish of Our Lady, Lisson Grove, and the neighbouring parishes of Swiss Cottage and the Rosary Church, Marylebone, and local convents and old-peoples' homes, including Barbara Brosnan Court.  We were also very pleased to welcome the Little Sisters of the Poor from St Anne's Home, Stoke Newington, where Canon McDonald is now Chaplain. Some of the Order of Malta Lourdes pilgrims were also present.


At the invitation of the Chairman of the Hospital, Bishop Alan Hopes, auxiliary of Westminster, celebrated a sung Mass at the close of the visit, which was attended by more than 200 people. The 18th century vestments worn had been restored by one of the patients present at the Mass.


We are very grateful to the many teams of carers and helpers who made the visit such a success.


As the relics left the church, a piper played "The Little Flower - St Thérèse of Lisieux" a new composition written specially for today's visit to the Hospital.


We pray that the many graces the visit of the relics have brought will renew the life and work of the Hospital and Hospice, and bring hope and faith to those who were present. (Click on the photographs to enlarge them.)


FAREWELL PRAYER 
Loving Father, We thank you for the visit of the relics of St Thérèse to our country. We ask you to draw us more deeply into your love And to fill us with confidence in your mercy. Help us to become, like St Thérèse, love at the heart of the Church. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, Who lives and reigns, forever and ever. Amen.

Further updates and images will be added when they are available.

St Thérèse of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face, pray for us.

OCTOBER 13th. FEAST OF BLESSED GERARD, FOUNDER OF THE ORDER. VISIT BY THE GRAND MASTER AND SOLEMN VOWS OF FRA' DUNCAN GALLIE



Tuesday 13th October is celebrated in the Order of Malta as the Feast of the Founder, Blessed Gerard, and this year the celebrations in the Conventual Church were of particular joy and solemnity, before a crowded church.


The Grand Master, with the Grand Prior, the Chaplain of the Grand Priory and professed knights

We were greatly honoured by the visit of the Prince and Grand Master, Fra' Matthew Festing, who received the solemn (perpetual) vows of Fra' Duncan Gallie, Chancellor of the Grand Priory of England, and Member of Sovereign Council.


The vows take place during Mass, and are in two parts.  Firstly, following the Epistle, the creating as a Knight – the giving of the sword and spurs; and secondly, after Communion, the religious vows, sworn upon an open Missal, by which the candidate comes into full membership of the Order.

The insignia prepared for the sword to be blessed

The giving of the sword
The spurs

The lighted candle

The first part of the vows is followed by the Gospel of the Mass, during which the Postulant stands holding his candle.
The homily was preached by Monsignor Antony Conlon, Principal Chaplain to the Grand Priory.  Click here for an extract from the text.
After the Communion, the postulant returns to the Grand Master for the clothing in the habit as a religious.

I, N. VOW TO ALMIGHTY GOD, IMPLORING THE ASSISTANCE OF MARY IMMACULATE, OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST AND OF BLESSED GERARD, TO OBSERVE POVERTY, CHASTITY, AND OBEDIENCE IN PERPETUITY TO WHICHEVER SUPERIOR I WILL BE ASSIGNED BY THE HOLY ORDER AND I INTEND TO MAKE THESE VOWS IN THE SPIRIT OF THE STATUTES AND LAWS OF THE ORDER OF MALTA.


The Grand Master embraces the Postulant: 
M.  I now acknowledge you and truly count you as one of our brothers.
P.  I, too, so consider myself, by the grace of the Lord our God and by your favour, my Most Eminent Lord. 


He is then clothed in the religious habit of the order and receives the Stola, decorated with the symbols of Our Lord's Passion, the yoke of the Knight, to remind him constantly of his life of service and charity, following the pattern of our Saviour.


The Mass, presided over by the Grand Master who has the rank of Cardinal, was celebrated by our chaplain, Fr Ronald Creighton-Jobe of the London Oratory.  It was followed by a reception in Brampton House.


We all wish Fra' Duncan many congratulations, and join in replying to his request for our prayers.


PRAYER OF THE ORDER OF MALTA
Lord Jesus, Thou has seen fit to enlist me for Thy service among the Knights of St John of Jerusalem. I humbly entreat Thee through the intercession of the most holy Virgin of Philerme, of St John the Baptist, Blessed Gerard and all the Saints, to keep me faithful to the traditions of our Order. Be it mine to practise and defend the Catholic, the Apostolic, the Roman faith against the enemies of religion: be it mine to practise charity towards my neighbours, especially Poor and sick  Give me the strength I need to carry out this my resolve, forgetful of myself, learning ever from Thy holy Gospel a spirit of deep and generous Christian devotion, striving ever to promote God’s glory, the world’s peace, and all that may benefit the Order of St John of Jerusalem.  AMEN

The Grand Master with Fra' Duncan Gallie after the Mass



SAINT HUGH, RELIGIOUS OF THE ORDER OF SAINT JOHN OF JERUSALEM. 8th OCTOBER


Saint Hugh was born about 1168 at Alessandria (Italy).
He became a knight of the Order of St John of Jerusalem.
After lengthy service with the Order in the Holy Land,
he was elected Master of the Commandery of St John di Prè
in Genoa (Italy), where he worked in the infirmary nearby. 
He was renowned for miraculous powers over the natural elements. 
He is believed to have died in 1233.


St Hugh's name is inscribed in a panel of the outer wall of the Conventual Church in London.


From the Collect
Saint Hugh,
God gave you the power to heal the sick by the sign of the cross.
Pray that God will give all our members
the spirit which inspired your own love
to serve God in our sick brothers and sisters.

THE RELICS OF SAINT THERESE OF THE CHILD JESUS


The relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux are being exposed for veneration in churches throughout England & Wales.   St Thérèse (1873–97), the “Little Flower”, was a Carmelite nun inspired by an intense devotion to the person of Jesus Christ. Her practice of complete fidelity to Him in the smallest events of daily life, her “Little Way”, gives an example that shows how a profound spiritual life can be within the reach of ordinary men and women.   This teaching, as she lived it, is described in her autobiography, “The Story of a Soul”. It led the Church to declare St Thérèse a Doctor of the Church, a teacher of the most profound truths of the Catholic faith.
The visit of her relics to our busy capital city teaches us that the most important work in life is to learn to know and love God in our own lives.   Relics remind us that God himself made human life holy when he became a man, Jesus Christ. He continues to make himself known in the words and deeds of holy people.
Relics are a sign of God’s presence in his saints and a focus for our prayer. The relics of St Thérèse recall her “Little Way” of complete fidelity to Jesus Christ. In them she comes to us and invites us to follow Him.  To prepare as a community to receive the relics into our Diocese, and to invite St Thérèse to pray for us and open our hearts to the grace of God, a Novena is recommended.
Click here for the leaflet describing the arrangements for veneration at the Cathedral.

NOVENA PRAYER

Come Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of the faithful, and kindle in them the fire of divine love.

V. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created.

R. And You shall renew the face of the earth.



Let us pray: O God, who have instructed the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit; grant that by the gift of the same Spirit, we may be ever truly wise and rejoice in His consolation, through Christ our Lord. Amen.




Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be
St Thérèse of the Child Jesus, pray for us.



A PRAYER TO SAINT THERESE OF LISIEUX
Lord Jesus, through the life of St Thérèse, you have brought new hope to all who long to open their hearts to you. Teach us the secret of her ‘Little Way’ and help us to realise that we can always talk with You and bring You our gratitude, our smiles and our tears. Stay with us, Jesus, so that in the midst of our busy hours, we may turn to You in loving trust. Transform each passing moment of time into a moment of prayer. Fill every troubled heart with the confident faith of St Thérèse. In joy and in sorrow, in every circumstance, may our hearts rest in Your peace, who live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.


St Therese in Westminster from Catholic Westminster on Vimeo.

SAINT THERESE'S PRAYER FOR PRIESTS
O Jesus, I pray for your faithful and fervent priests;
for your unfaithful and tepid priests;
for your priests labouring at home or abroad in distant mission fields;
for your tempted priests;
for your lonely and desolate priests;
for your young priests;
for your dying priests;
for the souls of your priests in Purgatory;
but above all, I recommend to you the priests dearest to me:
the priest who baptised me;
the priests who absolved me from my sins;
the priests at whose Masses I assisted and who gave me Your Body and Blood in Holy Communion;
the priests who taught and instructed me;
all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way.
O Jesus, keep them all close to your heart,
And bless them abundantly in time and in eternity. Amen.

HYMN TO SAINT THERESE
From clear high mansions of that shining palace
Where you enjoy the light of God's dear presence,
And plead our causes, mindful of your promise
Shower down your roses.

Roses of faith to shed its light supernal,
Roses of hope when obstacles surround us,
And for our strengthening in daily living
Roses of pure love.

Through your own childlike confidence and candor
Send us the rose of quietly discerning
Love of a Father, shining in each happening
Both sweet and bitter.

This be our portion, God forever blessed,
Father eternal, Son and Holy Spirit,
Whose is the glory which through all creation
Resounds forever.