From 'Mementoes of the Martyrs' : "...which provoked a Frenchman who was there to comment on the strange ways of the English, "those who are for the pope are hanged, those who are against him are burned:"                                               Saint John-Paul II wrote: "The fact that one can die for the faith shows that other demands of the faith can also be met."                                                 Cardinal Müller says, “For the real danger to today’s humanity is the greenhouse gases of sin and the global warming of unbelief and the decay of morality when no one knows and teaches the difference between good and evil.”                                                  St Catherine of Siena said, “We've had enough exhortations to be silent. Cry out with a thousand tongues - I see the world is rotten because of silence.”                                                  Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”                                                Brethren, Wake up!


An important event will take place on 13th October when the 57th Grand Prior of England, Ian Scott of Ardross, will make his vows of office during solemn Mass in the 12th century crypt chapel of the former Priory Church of St John of Jerusalem, Clerkenwell, now the seat of the Venerable Order of St John. The last such ceremony took place in 1558 in the reign of Queen Mary I, when Thomas Tresham, the last Grand Prior of the Order before the Reformation, was installed in the Priory Church. We are grateful to the Venerable Order for permitting the use of the Crypt and other facilities.

As this is the feast day of our blessed founder Gerard, the relic of his jawbone, brought to England by Sir George Bowyer in 1830, one of the great treasures of the Order of Malta in England, will be venerated and used to give the final blessing, the first visit of the relics to this historic church, making the occasion a double celebration.

All members of the Order, Companions and members of the OMV are cordially invited to attend.

The mass will begin at 7pm; members of the Order intending to robe should arrive at 6.30pm.

The ceremony will be followed by a drinks reception in the Museum annexe, and if fine, in the priory garden.

Names of those who wish to attend should be given to Caroline de la Force by Thursday 6th October, by email if possible to or to telephone number 020 7286 1414.  The address of the church is Saint John's Square (to the north of Clerkenwell Road) EC1M 4DA. The nearest tube station is Farringdon.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for him
Blessed Gerard, pray for him
Blessed Adrian Fortescue, pray for him


The late Grand Prior with Fra' Matthew Festing carry out
hospitaller work for the pilgrims of Notre-Dame-de-Philerme
on the Chartres pilgrimage in 2001
We have been sent the following notice from France, about a Requiem Mass for the late Grand Prior organised by those responsible for the Order's pilgrim chapter on the Chartres Pilgrimage. Should anyone be travelling through or near Paris on that day they are warmly encouraged to attend.  We are very grateful to our French friends for this very generous act of charity.

Chers amis et pèlerins de Notre-Dame de Philerme,

Le 14 juin dernier, au lendemain de l'arrivée de notre chapitre sur le parvis de la cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres, un ancien pèlerin du chapitre a été rappelé à Dieu.

S.E. Fra' Fredrik CRICHTON-STUART, chevalier Grand-Croix de Justice de l'Ordre de Malte, Grand Prieur d'Angleterre de l'Ordre. Il était aussi un fidèle pèlerin sur la route de Chartres au sein de notre chapitre et certains d'entre nous ont marché avec lui.

En sa mémoire : 
Nous vous invitons à la messe de requiem qui sera célébrée selon la forme extraordinaire du rite romain par Monsieur l'abbé Guilhem LECOCQ, f.s.s.p., ancien aumônier général de Notre-Dame de Chrétienté, 
à la mémoire de Fra' Fredrik CRICHTON-STUART, 
le lundi 17 octobre prochain à 20 heures  
en l'église Sainte-Elisabeth de Hongrie.
195 rue du Temple 75003 PARIS (accès par la petite porte à gauche de la façade de l’église). 
En union de prières.


Photo copyright Osservatore Romano.
On arrival is Germany today, the Holy Father has expressed words on relativism which fit pefectly with the charism of the Order of Malta, in our duty to others in respect both of promoting the Faith and our Hospitaller work.
In human coexistence, freedom is impossible without solidarity. What I do at the expense of others is not freedom but a culpable way of acting which is harmful to others and also to myself. I can truly develop as a free person only by using my powers also for the welfare of others. This holds true not only in private matters but also for society as a whole.
Benedict XVI 

THE SACRED LITURGY - A SACRED POEM - Tuitio Fidei by a Blessed of the Order

Cardinal Schuster, wearing the ornaments to the
alb used in the Ambrosian rite, 

which is in fact now attached to the cincture.
The following text is an article written by Blessed Ildefonso Cardinal Schuster OSB, Blessed of the Order of Malta, who was Archbishop of Milan in the 1920's, a most learned scholar of liturgy.
The Sacred Liturgy in its widest meaning, has as its object, the religious and supernatural culture of Christianity in its various sacramentary, euchological, ritualistic, literary and artistic manifestations, embracing thus, as in a vast synthesis, all that which is most sublime which has been created in the world, in order to grasp and express the indescribable and the Divine. Nor is that all.

As children of the Catholic Church and heirs of the dogmatic revelation made to the ancient Patriarchs and Prophets of Israel, our religious culture not only pre-exists, in its fundamental elements, the very coming of the Son of God to the world, but it is present many centuries prior to the most ancient cultures which record history, establishing itself, for that reason, to be respected and venerated by the learned. Moreover, it is not possible to speak of a purely natural and human origin, both because the dogmatic element of Christianity originates from direct and positive Divine Revelation and also because the life and activity itself of the Church are derived from the Spirit of Jesus Who lives in Her.

Therefore we are speaking of a sacred poem, to which Heaven and earth have truly placed their hand, and in which humanity, redeemed in the Blood of the Spotless Lamb, on the wings of the spirit, soars on high, thrusting itself up to the throne of God. This is something more than a simple elevation; since the Sacred Liturgy does not only express that which is ineffable and Divine, but through the Sacraments and its euchological formulae, produces it, so to say, and fulfills it in the souls of the Faithful to whom it communicates the grace of Redemption. One may also say that the very source of the holiness of the Church is wholly comprised in Her Liturgy, so that without the Divine Sacraments, the Passion of the Saviour, in the present economy instituted by God, would not have any efficacy for us, due to the lack of instruments able to transmit its treasures to us.

The sphere of the Liturgy is unsurpassed by that of any other science, since it embraces the first origins of humanity, its essential relations with the Creator, the Redemption, the Sacraments, Grace, Christian eschatology, in other words, all that there is which is most sublime, most aesthetically perfect, most necessary and important to the world.

As for science, the Sacred Liturgy has its canons, its laws, its subdivisions, the same as all other sciences and particularly of positive theology, which is similar both in its method and its aim. One of its purposes, in fact, is the systematic study of Christian worship, distinguishing and classifying the various liturgical formulae according to the basic structure characteristic of each family, ordering them by date of compilation and instituting examinations and comparisons between the various forms, with a view to tracing elements of common origin in them.

It is only thus that apparently irreducible liturgies, such as the Roman, the Gallican and Hispanic liturgies can be traced to a common source. If such were not the case, it would be difficult to see how the unity of the Symbol of Faith (The Creed) failed to lead(as an immediate consequence of its unity) to primitive unity in its liturgical expression. Instead, recent studies and detailed and patient investigation have uncovered in all the liturgies, even the most dissimilar, a common substratum.

At times an identical concept is expressed using quite different ritual formulae and language. Nevertheless, it can now no longer be doubted that eastern and western liturgies all derive from an identical, very ancient form, which provides a foundation for Catholic unity in ecclesiastical worship.

[From: De vita Contemplativa, Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate, Italy - Contributor and translator: Francesca Romana.]

Our heartfelt gratitude to Rorate Caeli blog for first posting this wonderful paper. UPDATE. Rorate Caeli are seemingly continuing a series of papers on the Liturgy, today 'The Sacred Liturgy and Mary Most Holy' has been posted, so we encourage our readers to visit that site.


We are glad to report that following a technological hiatus over a period of a few months, the 'Downloads' section is now up and working again, thanks to the kindness of a Companion of the Order. It may be accessed through the sidebar, as shown in the image above.

There you will find the Ordo for the current year's liturgical celebrations for the Order of Malta, the Order prayer, and other files for download in PDF format.  These will open in most web-browsers, and may be saved to your computer and opened in Acrobat or other suitable document-reader software.

Informative documents will be uploaded there from time to time, it will also permit the downloading of homilies and other papers posted on this site.


Today, the Bishops of England and Wales have determined that in future we must refrain from eating meat or flesh products on Friday as a necessary part of our weekly penitence.

This obligation carries the same moral force as the Sunday Mass obligation and other disciplines of the Church, and applies to all those between their 15th and 60th birthdays.

We should also bearing in mind when preparing food for other people that we have a duty to avoid tempting them into breaking their obligation.

As an amusing aside, we have noticed that many of the more popular Catholic websites and blogs have pages of suggestions for meatless recipes, so there will be culinary as well as spiritual benefits to observing this discipline. We shall not be posting any here.


Altarpiece of the Seven Dolours in the Royal Abbey of Brou,
near Bourg-en-Bresse, early 17th Century
On this Feast we would earnestly ask all our readers to offer a Holy Rosary for unity within the Church, in accordance with the will of the Holy Father, and especially for the present initiatives for reconciliation of the Society of Saint Pius X, but also for the numerous other divisions within the Church and her organisations.

Holy Mass will be offered by Fr Dominic Robinson SJ at 6.45 this evening at Spanish Place for this intention, as also for the weekly intentions of the Order of Malta and St John's Hospice.
At the cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful mother weeping,
close to Jesus at the last,
Through her soul, of joy bereavèd,
bowed with anguish, deeply grievèd,
now at length the sword hath passed
(Sequence of the Mass for the Feast)




from The Roman Missal Copyright ICEL 2010
To assist in learning the texts of the new English translations of Mass, the Thursday 6.45pm Masses in the Lady Chapel at Spanish Place, from now until the first Sunday of Advent, will be celebrated in English.

In order to promote the sung form of Mass, as expressly encouraged by our Holy Father Pope Benedict and the English Bishops, the Masses will be sung as often as numbers attending allow.

Booklets with all the texts and music contained in the new Missal have been specially prepared.

This project was begun at the instigation of Fra' Freddy, the late Grand Prior, who would have encouraged you all to come along to these Masses, not only for the opportunity they afford member of the Order, Companions and friends to attend Mass regularly together, but also to learn the new texts.

Fr Dominic Robinson SJ will be celebrant this first week, 15th September. Thereafter our Chaplain Father David Irwin will preside.


Our congratulations to His Grace the Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Reverend Monsignor Vincent Nichols, who received the Freedom of the City of London at the Guildhall last Wednesday. His Grace was proposed by the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor of London Alderman Michael Bear, and Miss Catherine McGuiness, Common Councilman.

Ad multos annos.


His Most Eminent Highness the Prince and Grand Master, Fra' Matthew Festing, has given an interview to "The Catholic Café", the evangelising internet radio station of the Order of Malta Federal Association, USA.

He covers subjects ranging from the history and nature of the Order's sovereignty to the work of Tuitio Fidei and the religious life, the rule of Blessed Raymond du Puy, and the relevance of Hospitaller work to the religious vocation of the knight.

The interview was recorded in Lourdes earlier this year, and lasts about half an hour.


The statue of Il Bambina carried into the Cathedral piazza after Mass.
Our congratulations to the people of the island of Malta, and to the Maltese community in Britain, who yesterday celebrated their second national day after Independence Day, called Malta Day, kept on the Saturday nearest to Our Lady's Birthday. It is also called Victory Day, as they share with the Order the joy of the lifting of the siege in 1565.  They also celebrate this day the lifting of the second great siege in 1942, equally attributed to Our Lady's intercession.

Mass was celebrated in Westminster Cathedral by Monsignor Carmello Scerri, delegate of the Archbishop of Malta, assisted among others by our chaplain Father David Irwin, who is also Diocesan chaplain for foreign missions, in the presence of the President of Malta, His Excellency Dr George Abela, and Mrs Abela, and His Excellency Joseph Zammit Tabona, High Commissioner, and many local dignitaries.  The music was provided by the Saint Paul's Choral Society of Malta who are on a concert tour of London. Some twenty knights and dames of the Order were present in choir.

The Mass was followed by a procession through the streets of Westminster to The Sacred Heart Horseferry Road of Il Bambina - the Child Mary - to celebrate our Lady of Victories, accompanied by the St Sebastian's Wokingham Brass Band, and firework displays at the beginning and end of the procession.

In the evening the High Commissioner hosted a Reception at the new and very luxurious Corinthia Hotel in Northumberland Avenue, to which members of the Order were most graciously invited.
Photo thanks to


The vestments bearing the arms of the late Grand Prior, Fra' Fredrik Crichton-Stuart,
which were worn for the first time at this Mass. They were the presented to him just before his death
 by Monsieur Arthur van der Straeten. They were made in Lyons.
THE FEAST was kept with splendour in the Conventual Church, in the presence, for the first time, of the Grand Prior elect, Ian Scott of Ardross, with the propers of the Mass sung to the setting from Byrd's Gradualia, and the Gloria and Incarnatus from Mozart's Coronation Mass. The President of BASMOM, HE Mr Charles Weld was also present. During the solemn censing of the Icon of Our Lady of Philermo, the antiphon Inviolata was sung to chant, following the ancient practice of the Knights in Malta, where it was sung at the end of every Conventual Mass on Sundays and major feasts.  

Our Lady of Philermo, pray for us.
Monsignor ANTONY CONLON, Chaplain of the Grand Priory of England, delivered the homily at the Victory Mass in the Conventual Church. The text is given below, click "read more" for the full text.
Nature has endowed the sea-harbour around Malta with contours and depth that make it one of the best naturally-sheltered inlets in the world. The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V may not have known this when he decided to grant the island to the Knights of Malta in 1527 but he must have been aware of its strategic position, close to Sicily and Africa and at the eastern end of the Mediterranean. What he did expect – and he was to be proved right – was that the new defenders would be tenacious, courageous and resourceful in its defence. Above all these virtues they would also demonstrate an unshakeable attachment to the ancient faith, at that time being assailed across parts of Europe by new and variously subjective religious theories. Unable to undertake the task of defence of the extremities of the Mediterranean because of hostilities against his own dominions from the French King and the German Protestant princes, the Emperor saw the Knights as the only possible reliable and consistent means of resistance to the Ottoman ambitions to encircle Europe from the east. In many respects the island was a most inhospitable outpost with poor cultivation prospects and uncertain sources of fresh water. Yet, due to the determination and character and ability of its Grand Masters, the Order transformed this mostly barren, almost treeless outcrop of islands into an almost impregnable fortress for the defence Christian Europe that survived assault for nearly 300 years. That was not necessarily the outcome anticipated by the Order when it first arrived in Malta. Already in his 70’s when he took possession of the new territory, the then Grand Master de L’Isle Adam, considered the move temporary and in his remaining few years in office he longed always to return to Rhodes, whose loss he never considered permanent although it tuned out to be so.


In celebration of the Feast, we offer below images from Marian shrines connected to the Order of Malta around the world.
The Altar of Our Lady of Philermo in St John's Valetta, Malta
showing the solid silver gates.  It is here that the true icon was
housed until the destruction by Napoleon. Pray for him.
The image of Our Lady with Our Lord and Saint John the Baptist
on the altar of the Grand Master's chapel
of Santa Maria del' Priorato, on the Aventine, Rome.
The Priory Church of Our-Lady-under-the-Chains, Prague
The shrine of the Immacolata in the Order's church
 of San Michele Arcangelo, Naples
The shrine of Our Lady in the Order's church of St Elizabeth of Hungary, Paris
Please pray also for our Hospital which shares this dedication.

Beata Maria de Phileremo, ora pra nobis


TODAY, the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, is, throughout the Order, the Feast of Our Blessed Lady of Philermo.

On this day, by the gracious intercession of our beloved Mother, the island of Malta was freed from the Ottoman siege in 1565, and thus the merciful work of the Order was continued to the glory of God and of His Church.

We beseech her at this time to overcome the powers of darkness which are raised against the Church and against the Order, and to stay the hand of all those who might attack or frustrate the mission of the Order in our own day, that we may continue to serve her Divine Son in Our Lords the Poor and the Sick in their need.
The Icon in the festal dress of Grand Master de l'Isle Adam
Nativitas tua, Dei Genitrix Virgo, gaudium annuntiavit universo mundo : ex te enim ortus est sol iustitiae, Christus Deus noster : qui solvens maledictionem, dedit benedictionem, et confudens mortem, donavit nobis vitam sempiternam. Antiphon of the Magnificat of II Vespers.

Your Nativity, O Virgin Mother of God,  announced joy to the whole world, for out of you arose the Sun of Justice, Christ our God; who taking off the curse, bestowed blessing; and defeating death, gave us new life.
Let us pray.
Bestow upon your servants, we beseech you O Lord, the gift of heavenly grace, that, as the child-bearing of the Blessed Virgin stood for the beginning of our salvation, so may the solemn feast of her Nativity bring about an increase of peace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.
Mass will be celebrated solemnly in the Conventual Church at 6.30pm. The celebrant will be Monsignor Antony Conlon, who will also preach.


Fra' Freddy at his beloved Torphichen,
the ancient seat of the Order in Scotland.
Today, 6th September 2011, is the 71st birthday of the late Grand Prior of England, who was born in Edinburgh at Bute House, a short walk from St Mary's Catholic Cathedral, whence he was buried last June.

Of your charity please pray for his soul this day.


Our Lady of Philermo, pray for him
Saint John the Baptist, pray for him
Saint Andrew, pray for him
Blessed Gerard, pray for him
Blessed Adrian Fortescue, pray for him
All holy Saints and Virgins of the Order, pray for him


With thanks to Fr Tim Finigan for finding this, we offer below an excerpt from the first pastoral letter (click for full text) from the close friend of the late Grand Prior, Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB, the new bishop of Aberdeen.
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.’ In Christ, the Son of God takes on everything human, except sin, and transforms it. And in the Liturgy this mystery of the Incarnation – the Word becoming flesh – lives on among us. Everything speaks of it. When we gather to worship we come together in a building – not usually in any building, though, but in a church, a building dedicated for worship. The ministers who lead our prayer don’t wear just ordinary clothes, but vestments. We stand, sit or kneel, but each of these postures now has a special meaning. We come together to listen to readings – not any readings though, but words inspired by the Holy Spirit, words that are now the word of God. We gather round a table – but not any table, rather a holy table, an altar. We eat and drink – but not any food or drink, rather bread and wine which have become that holiest of things, the Body and Blood of the Lord, his very Self. In the Liturgy, ordinary things are taken up by Christ and the Church and become vehicles of something greater than themselves. And so it is too with the words, the language, we use in prayer. Christianity has always, to some extent, created its own language. It took the words of ancient Israel or the Greco-Roman world and filled them with a new meaning. And so, in the Liturgy, we use words that carry the resonances of a long tradition, words that express our faith, and are rich with many centuries of experience of the God who has spoken to us in Christ. The new translation of the Missal is very aware of this and tries to be loyal to it. And, once again, when these words are sung, they can lift our hearts even more.
These reflections upon the sacredness of the liturgical texts, as of all that we touch and do in connexion with the liturgy, will serve us well, and we wish Bishop Gilbert every blessing in his new ministry.


In Advent this year the new corrected translations of the Roman Missal will come into effect.  Before this, starting on the first Sunday in September, this week, the unchanging parts of the Mass, those prayers and responses we say week by week, will be used of the first time.

In addition to the changes to the texts, the Bishops have included much more music in the new books, and whereas in the past many of us have been unfamiliar with singing many parts of the English Mass, from now on this will become a very much more usual part of our Sunday Liturgy; as Saint Augustine says, "he who sings prays twice."

Information from ICEL, the editors, including texts and music, may been seen and downloaded from links on the page available here.

The Bishops of Ireland have prepared three excellent short videos, which are posted below, to help explain the theology behind some of the changes, which bring the English-speaking world into line not only with the official Latin texts, but also with most of the other languages of the world. The translations are also intended to be much more beautiful, to help us raise our hearts and minds to God.

From Thursday 15th September, at the specific wish of the late Grand Prior, the Order of Malta's 6.45pm Mass at the Lady Chapel at Spanish Place will begin using the new texts, and when we are numerous enough, the Mass will be sung, to assist us to learn the new responses and their music. This will continue until Advent. Everyone is encouraged to make use of these opportunities.

Introducing the new Missal Part 1:

Introducing the new Missal Part 2:

Introducing the new Missal Part 3:


The uncovered face of the true icon of Our Lady of Philermo
The Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, celebrated in the Order as Our Lady of Philermo, and commonly known as the Victory Mass, in celebration of the lifting of the Seige of Malta in 1565 at her intercession, will be celebrated in the Conventual Church at 6.30pm on Thursday 8th September.

The celebrant will be the Chaplain to the Grand Priory, Monsignor Antony Conlon, and the Mass will be followed by a Reception in Fortescue House.

All members of the Order, Companions, and their friends and guests are warmly encouraged to attend this the principal Marian Feast in the Order's calendar.

Beata Maria de Phileremo, ora pro nobis.