“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

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THE SACRAMENT OF MARRIAGE - PETITION

The Marriage of the Virgin, by Philippe de Champaigne, 1644
There is no need to rehearse here the much publicised attacks upon Marriage, an institution formed by God as part of His plan of Creation (which is why it has existed in most peoples and religions from time immemorial) which are being proposed by this Government, currently undertaking 'consultation' on introducing 'marriage' for people of the same sex.

Members of the Order of Malta, with its charge of Tuitio Fidei, are obliged to engage in this controversy, and to take up suitable arms in the defense of God's created order, and of the Church's indissoluble teaching.

There are many ways in which we can do this, at local, parish and other levels; with our children and their school-friends, and among our own friends.

We should also write to our Member of Parliament, and it is useful to sign petitions when they come up, to make our voices heard in the public square. We should also encourage our Bishops to take a strong stand.

The Coalition for Marriage, a charity set up to fight this battle, has a petition HERE. Please sign it; it only takes a moment. They also have a paper version for distribution to non-computer friends. This campaign is supported by the Catholic Bishop's Conference, as explained by Archbishop Peter Smith HERE.

The Daily Telegraph has a poll, which the 'same-sex-marriage' lobby is currently winning 76-24%. Shame on the supposedly conservative readership of that organ, please visit it HERE to help redress the balance. The question is posed as a choice between being nice to everyone and giving them the 'right' to get married, as opposed to maintaining tradition and God's teaching, which is, by thinly veiled implication, unkind. This modern relativist obsession with being seen to be nice is a spectacular success of the Devil. It seems a very poor bargain to sell one's soul just to be liked by a few random people. It is, nevertheless, endemic.

We must not lose sight of the fact that at last year's Conservative Party conference, in his main speech the Prime Minister, David Cameron, said: ''I don't support gay marriage in spite of being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative.''  We are not called upon to understand this statement, but we must as Christians heed it.

The government, hand in hand with the secular cognoscenti, is trying to marginalise religious views as bigoted and out-of-touch: a tasteful silence will only play into the hands of those who use arguments of relativity to attack the values for which we stand and which we know to be right.

The gauntlet has been thrown down, it is our job to take it up.
 
Our Lady of Philermo, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us
Holy Martyrs of England and Wales, pray for us

REPORT ON OXFORD RECOLLECTION

Vespers in St Benet's Hall chapel
Ten members of the Order, of whom five are professed knights, together with 10 Companions and friends met in Oxford for the latest Recollection on Saturday last, 25th February. Lauds and Vespers of the Little Office of Our Lady were both sung in the Chapel of St Benet's Hall by kind permission of the Master, Fr Felix Stephens OSB. Mass for the Feast of St Matthias was celebrated in the Sacred Heart Chapel of the Oxford Oratory with music sung by a schola of Knights. It was a pleasure as ever to welcome visitors from other Associations of the Order.

Father Joseph Welch of The Oxford Oratory gave two most inspiring and informative recollections on Psalm 118. This Psalm is a description of a soul's resistance to temptation and the importance of constantly seeking God's grace. Many members of the Order will be familiar with the Psalm through the recitation of the Breviary. The day included Benediction and Holy Hour at the Oratory, served by two Companions whom it is hoped will soon be joining the Order. A suitably Lenten lunch was preceded by a reading from the Rule of Blessed Raymond du Puy and a commentary on it, taken form the studies on the Rule which have recently been undertaken by members of the Grand Priory and chaplains in Oxford.

The day finished with Sung Vespers in the Chapel of St Benet’s Hall, followed by tea.
Our confrere Fra' John Eidinow, who is a Fellow of St Benet's Hall, as cantor at Vespers.

NOTICE - FEBRUARY DAY OF RECOLLECTION - OXFORD

The Sacred Heart chapel at the Oratory
The next Day of Recollection will take place on Saturday 25th February 2012 in Oxford, through the kindness of the Fathers of the Oratory and the Master of St Benet’s Hall. The Conferences will be given by Fr Joseph Welch of the Oxford Oratory. A levy of £10 per head will be taken to cover the costs of the day apart from lunch, which will be charged separately.

As ever, everyone is welcome: ALL members of BASMOM, other members of the Order in Britain, Companions and guests.

The Oratory is at 25 Woodstock Road Oxford OX2 6HA, and St Benet’s Hall is a few doors away at 38 St Giles’. Parking in central Oxford is extremely limited. It is recommended to use ‘Park and Ride’ –the route between Redbridge and Pear Tree car parks passes by the Oratory. The Westgate Multi-storey is about 15 minutes away. There are frequent trains up from London and the station is about 15 minutes’ walk. The Oxford tube coach service stops at Gloucester Green which is about 10 minutes away.

HORARIUM
10.00am Arrive at Oxford Oratory, Porter's Lodge
10.30am Lauds at St Benet’s Hall
11.00am First Conference at The Oratory-followed by opportunity for Confession/recitation of the Rosary
12.00 noon Mass - Saturday in Lent - at The Oratory
Lunch: Details to be announced
2.30pm Second Conference at The Oratory
3.15pm Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at The Oratory
4.00pm Vespers at St Benet’s Hall followed by tea

NEW BISHOP OF TARBES AND LOURDES

Monseigneur Nicolas Brouwet
On Saturday last the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Holy See announced the appointment of Monseigneur Nicolas Brouwet, formerly Auxiliary bishop of Nanterre, as the new Bishop of Tarbes et Lourdes. His Excellency will be 50 years old in August this year, and will also this year celebrate the 20th anniversary of his priestly ordination. He was educated at the Sorbonne and the French College in Rome, during which time he taught for two years at the seminary in Jerusalem. 

We offer our congratulations, both to Monseigneur Brouwet, and to this important pilgrim diocese.

Monseigneur Brouwet is known already to the pages of this blog, as he celebrated the closing Pontifical Mass at Chartres last year, a pilgrimage which has for a long time been part of the activity of members of the French Association of the Order, and dear to the heart of our beloved Grand Master. See report here. 

It is a great blessing for the Order to have such a learned and pious man, deeply imbued with the sense of Christian pilgrimage, to preside over this see so close to the heart of the Order of Malta. There can be no doubt that His Excellency will fruitfully animate the Order's annual pilgrimage.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for him.

REPORT - BIRMINGHAM LOURDES REUNION 2012

The Lourdes Reunion at the Birmingham Oratory on Saturday was a great success, some 40 Malades attended the Mass and received the graces of the Sacrament of Annointing of the Sick. Many had travelled long distances in the snow and ice.  It was lovely that this year the Saturday fell on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, the World Day of the Sick, so we joined millions around the world in our devotions.

The cold did not deter faithful members of the Order either, some 30 dames and knights attended in choir.

Mass was celebrated by Father Anthony Talbot, who has recently returned to England, a cousin of Lord and Lady Talbot of Malahide, our beloved Vice-President, both of whom were present. Father Talbot preached a very moving "spiritual pilgrimage" to Lourdes, taking his pilgrims gently around the shrine and through the many means of grace which it affords.

We were also joined by the Companions, who shared our celebration of Our Lady's feast as 'Companions' Day' this year. As the Saturday morning every week is the Newman Shrine pilgrims' Mass, there were also many visitors and parishioners present in a pretty full church, many of whom were also able to come up for the Sacrament of Anointing.
Our Lords the Sick watching hopefully as Lady Talbot presides over the tombola
Following Mass the Malades and members of the Order had the most splendid buffet lunch, provided by a large team of volunteers, in the Bl John Henry Newman Museum at the Oratory. Lunch was followed by a talk given by Lady Talbot on the Apparitions at Lourdes, and as ever by a charity auction and tombola. Many happy faces left with wonderful prizes.

Next year's Reunion is planned to be a week or so later, to avoid half-term, allowing more people to  attend, and hopefully have some warmer weather.

Our gratitude goes to all the many helpers who made this such a wonderful day, but specially this year we must thank Major Arbuthnot, for his excellent organisation in his first year in this role, and for his magnificent baked ham!

Fra' Duncan Gallie, Chancellor of the Grand Priory, who has organised this day for the past ten years, was much missed by everyone, as he is away in Rome.

We are extremely grateful to the Fathers of the Birmingham Oratory for their truly gracious welcome. 

Our main thanks must, as ever, go to our Lords the Sick.

BIRMINGHAM LOURDES REUNION

Plate and majolica used for the nursing of the Sick at the Hospital in Malta
(photo courtesy of the Museum of St John, London)
This coming Saturday, 11th February, the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, at 11am a solemn Mass will be sung at the Birmingham Oratory, Hagley Road, B16 8UE. At the proclamation of the late Holy Father Blessed John-Paul II, this day is observed as World Day for the Sick; during the Mass there will be anointing of Our Lords the Sick, following the practice he encouraged. Any sick or aged person who desires the sustenance of this Sacrament is welcome to receive it.

The Mass will be followed by the Annual Lourdes Reunion, for which reservation is required through the usual channels.

This year the Order will be joined by the members of the Companions who are celebrating Companions Day on this feast.

Members of the Order, Companions and friends are very warmly encouraged to attend and support with their prayers the Order in its work of Obsequium Pauperum at this Mass.

If you are unable to come, please pray for the work of the Order and the Companions this day. Members are encouraged to have a Mass offered for this intention.

Our Lords the Poor and the Sick, pray for us.

THE QUEEN'S DIAMOND JUBILEE

V. Domine, salvam fac Reginam nostram Elisabeth.
R. Et exaudi nos in die, qua invocaverimus te.
Oremus.
Quæsumus omnipotens Deus, ut famula tua Elisabeth Regina nostra, qui tua miseratione suscepit regni gubernacula, virtutum etiam omnium percipiat incrementa; quibus decenter ornata, et vitiorum monstra devitare, et ad te qui via, veritas et vita es, cum principe consorte et prole regia, gratiosa valeat pervenire. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Ad Multos Annos!
Plurimusque annos!
VIVAT ! VIVAT! VIVAT!
Click image to see the 41-gun salute in Hyde Park (video sadly not embeddable)

TWITTER

We have been persuaded by several members of the Order to restart our experiment of using Twitter, despite the near total lack of take-up last year. Perhaps times have moved on. There is a link in the sidebar to our Twitter homepage.

Please reTweet, follow, share, or whatever, to make this exercise worthwhile. As a matter of technical interest, reTweeting, in the correct circumstances, is an act of Tuitio Fideo, and may thus bear graces!

TUITIO FIDEI IN MIAMI, FLORIDA

On the Feast of Candlemas last Thursday, the Presentation of the Lord, His Excellency the Most Reverend Monsignor Thomas Wenski, Archbishop of Miami, Conventual Chaplain ad honorem of the Cuban Association of the Order of Malta, celebrated Pontifical High Mass in the church of the Epiphany in Miami. This was the first Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form in Florida in 50 years. His Excellency wore the cappa, mitre and vestments of the first Archbishop, Monsignor Coleman Carroll, as a sign of the continuity of our Faith and Worship, in a reflection of the practice of our beloved Holy Father.  The Mass was preceded by a workshop for the priests attending in choir - Tuitio Fidei in practice.
Photographs courtesy of Archdiocese of Miami website
In his homily, delivered solemnly from the throne, His Excellency said: “What’s happening tonight should give us an indication of what should be happening in our parishes every Sunday — the dignity, the solemnity, the pageantry, if you will. But it’s not about entertaining people, it’s about worshiping God, along with the tradition and continuity of the faith throughout the ages.”  The full text may be read here.

This liturgical work is central to the Order's charism, as we strive in charity to bring our fellow man closer to Salvation. The sacred Liturgy is the most powerful means the Church gives us to achieve this, and one to which the Order of Malta has throughout its life been devoted in the magnificent churches it built in its various homes.

Tuitio Fidei is the Obsequium Pauperum for the soul, and just as human beings are both spirit and flesh, so these two parts of our work are also one and indivisible.

There is an article on the Archbishop's work in the Order on the Cuban Association website here.

Ad Multos Annos!
H/T WDTPRS