“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                                                                                                                                                 "Work as if everything depends on you, pray as if everything depends on God" - Saint Ignatius of Loyola

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HOLY WEEK AT WESTMINSTER CATHEDRAL

Holy Week and Easter
at Westminster Cathedral
2012
Sunday 1st April – Palm Sunday
Mass (Sat 6pm), 8, 9am, 12.15, 5.30, 7pm
Blessing of Palms, Procession, Solemn Mass* 10am
Vespers and Benediction* 3.30pm
Confessions 11am-1pm; 4.30-7pm 
Monday 2nd April
Mass 7, 8, 10.30am (Latin), 12.30, 1.05, 5.30pm (Solemn*)
Morning Prayer 7.40am; Vespers* 5pm
Confessions 10.30am-6pm 
Tuesday 3rd April
Mass 7, 8am, 5.30pm

Chrism Mass*
12pm
Morning Prayer 7.40am; Evening Prayer 5pm
Confessions 10.30-11.30am, 1.30-6pm 
Wednesday 4th April
Mass 7, 8, 10.30am (Latin), 12.30, 1.05, 5.30pm (Solemn*)
Morning Prayer 7.40am; Vespers* 5pm
Confessions 10.30am-6pm 
Thursday 5th April – Maundy Thursday
Morning Prayer 10am
Confessions 10.30am-5.30pm

Mass of the Lord’s Supper*
6pm
Watching at the Altar of Repose from after Mass until 12am
Compline 11.45pm
The Cathedral is open 7.50am-midnight 
Friday 6th April – Good Friday
Office of Readings*
10am
Walk of Witness from Methodist Central Hall at 12pm

Solemn Liturgy of the Passion*
3pm
Stations of the Cross 6.30pm
Confessions 10.30am-2pm, 5pm-6pm
The Cathedral is open 7.50am-8pm 
Saturday 7th April – Holy Saturday
Office of Readings*
10am
Blessing of Easter Food 3pm
Confessions 10.30am-5pm

The Easter Vigil*
8.30pm
The Cathedral is open 8.30am-5.30pm, 7.30pm-10.30pm
 
Sunday 8th April – Easter Sunday
Mass 8, 9am, 12.15, 5.30, 7pm

Morning Prayer, followed by Solemn Mass*
10am
Vespers and Benediction* 3.30pm
Confessions 11am-1pm 
Monday 9th – Friday 13th April
Mass 10.30am, 12.30pm, 5pm
Morning Prayer 10am
Confessions 11am-1pm
The Cathedral is open 9am-5.40pm 
The Cathedral Choir sings at services marked with an asterisk*
The Archbishop of Westminster is main celebrant at services printed in red

ARCHBISHOP'S HOLY WEEK MEDITATION THROUGH ART

Once again the Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, visits the National Gallery to give a mediation upon the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Blessed Lord through the glorious gift of  Christian art.  A PDF file of the text may be downloaded HERE for private study.

       

LOYAL ADDRESS FROM ALL CATHOLIC SUBJECTS ON THE OCCASION OF THE DIAMOND JUBILEE OF HM QUEEN ELIZABETH

To mark the Diamond Jubilee, His Grace the Archbishop of Westminster, on behalf of all the Catholics of England and Wales, delivered an Address to Her Majesty the Queen at an audience at Buckingham Palace this week, attended by prominent Catholics from around the realm.  The full text is given below.


LOYAL ADDRESS TO HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II
ON BEHALF OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN ENGLAND AND WALES
ON THE OCCASION OF THE DIAMOND JUBILEE OF HER ACCESSION

YOUR MAJESTY, it is an honour and a pleasure to express the great loyalty and gratitude felt by the Catholic community of England and Wales for the outstanding and unstinting service you give to our nation and to people throughout the world.

We express these sentiments with particular warmth and admiration as you celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of your reign as our Queen.

Along with Catholics across the world, and especially in the Commonwealth, we join our prayers of thanksgiving to those of other Christians for the many blessings of your reign.

At this moment, we would like to thank you, in particular, for the gracious and generous welcome that you gave to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in his recent Visit to the United Kingdom. We recall with pride the words you spoke on that occasion, affirming our common Christian heritage and our ‘contribution to the encouragement of world peace, and to the economic and social development of the less prosperous countries of the world.’

You also spoke graciously of the special contribution of the Catholic community to the wellbeing of our society, especially in our work with the poor, the homeless and in education. We thank you for those words and assure you today of our determination to continue to make our contribution to the common good of all, committed always to a shared search for truth in the practice of daily living, for charity in daily dealings and for compassion and justice in relation to those in need.

We would also like to make our own the words addressed to you by the Holy Father: ‘The Christian message has been an integral part of the language, thought and culture of the peoples of these islands for more than a thousand years. Your forefathers’ respect for truth and justice, for mercy and charity come to you from a faith that remains a mighty force for good in your kingdom, to the great benefit of Christians and non-Christians alike.’

Your Majesty, we thank you for your steadfast insistence on the great importance of our Christian faith, given in both word and example, alongside your appreciation of the contribution made by other religions in our rich and diverse society today. Our hope is that our society, enriched by the presence of many beliefs and cultures, will always maintain respect for our Christian heritage and the sure foundations it gives for a flourishing of true human fulfilment. The Gospel of Jesus, which we seek to serve, is a challenge to our society to think more deeply about the sanctity of life, the constant need for forgiveness and reconciliation, the faithfulness required in love and the self-sacrifice which brings true satisfaction.

Your Majesty, it is my pleasure to assure you of our prayers for you, now and in the future and, most especially, on the day of your Diamond Jubilee when special prayers will be offered for you and your family in every Catholic Church in England and Wales. May Almighty God bless Your Majesty, preserve you in health of mind and body and grant you every grace and blessing now and for the years to come.

REMINDER - MONTHLY MASS THIS WEDNESDAY

The monthly Mass of the Grand Priory will be a sung Mass at St James's Spanish Place at 7 pm this coming Wednesday, 28th March, the Mass of a Feria of Lent. The celebrant will be Father David Irwin.

GOOD WISHES TO OUR FRIENDS IN THE INSTITUTE OF CHRIST-THE-KING - Updated

The Lady altar at the shrine church.
Monsignor Gilles Wach, Superior General and founder of the Institute of Christ-the-King Sovereign Priest, and a good friend to the Order of Malta, who has on several occasion celebrated Mass in the Conventual Church, notably in two previous years on Ash Wednesday, will be in England this weekend for the establishment of the shrine church of Saints Peter, Paul and Philomena at New Brighton in the Wirral.

This church, known to sailors as the Dome of Home, as it is visible far out to sea from ships coming into Liverpool, will become the first in Britain to be entrusted to the Institute of Christ-the-King Sovereign Priest, a society of Apostolic life of Pontifical Right. The shrine church will be a special place of prayer and devotion open every day for adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

The ceremony will be presided by His Excellency Bishop Mark Davies, bishop of Shrewsbury, by whose generous invitation the Institute have come to these shores. The Bishop will preach the homily, and the Superior General will be celebrant at the High Mass. Various members of the Order, long-term friends of the Institute, will be present.

We wish the Bishop and the Institute well in this new Apostolate in Britain, and pray that it may bear many fruits, both in the Wirral and in the wider Church in this country.

As reported here on the Diocese of Shrewsbury website, in recognition of the importance of the work of the Institute in the renewal of the Church, the Sovereign Pontiff has granted a plenary indulgence to all who attend the opening of the shrine at the Mass on Saturday morning.  We share His Lordship's evident joy in the wonderful development in his Diocese.

Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Prayers at the foot of the altar
UPDATE:
This was a truly glorious occasion, attended by members of the Grand Priory, including the Chancellor, His Excellency Fra' Duncan Gallie, amongst 1,000 Faithful.  The Church looked magnificent, and the ceremonies were conducted with dignity and majesty.  Bishop Davies preached an inspiring homily which may be read on the Diocesan website HERE, and their site also carries a full report HERE.  Additional pictures are available HERE, and Canon Meney's own pictures from the shrine HERE.

"GAY MARRIAGE" - ACTION NEEDED

Raphael. Marriage of the Virgin, Milan
The Government's consultation on this subject begins today, the siren trumpets sounding loud and hollow in the moral vacuum which this country has become, as the Equalities Minister, Lynne Featherstone, says that the state should "facilitate, encourage and rejoice" in people's desire to marry. It would be funny if it were not so iniquitous.

Earlier this week Tony Blair, the former Labour prime minister, publicly criticised the Church's teaching on Marriage, underlining his dissent from the statement made last week by the Holy Father (see post below) and reemphasised his enthusiasm for a policy which he has supported continuously since before his conversion to the Catholic Church, as reported in the Independent, here.  It is most illuminating that this man should support the Coalition Government on this one issue, and we can hope that it will do their cause no good.

Please SIGN the Petition at COALITION FOR MARRIAGE, here, as our Bishops have asked us.

Please also WRITE to your MP, and to 10 Downing Street.  It has been observed that paper letters, which received replies, are more effective.  Click above for the respective addressees.

Tuitio Fidei - this is why we are here in the Order.  Now is the time for action in this onslaught against humanity.

Our Lady of Philermo, pray for us
Queen of the Family, pray for us
St Joseph, pray for us
St John the Baptist, pray for us
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us

ARCHBISHOPS' LETTER ON MARRIAGE

As the Government launches its controversial consultation on changing the nature of legal marriage in this country, their graces the Archbishops of Westminster and Southwark issue the following letter, which, with the agreement of the diocesan bishops of the country, is being read in all oratories and parish churches throughout England and Wales at all Masses today, the third Sunday of Lent.

A Letter on Marriage from the President and Vice-President of the
Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ,

This week the Coalition Government is expected to present its consultation paper on the proposed change in the legal definition of marriage so as to open the institution of marriage to same-sex partnerships.

Today we want to put before you the Catholic vision of marriage and the light it casts on the importance of marriage for our society.

The roots of the institution of marriage lie in our nature. Male and female we have been created, and written into our nature is this pattern of complementarity and fertility. This pattern is, of course, affirmed by many other religious traditions. Christian teaching fills out this pattern and reveals its deepest meaning, but neither the Church nor the State has the power to change this fundamental understanding of marriage itself. Nor is this simply a matter of public opinion. Understood as a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman, and for the creation and upbringing of children, marriage is an expression of our fundamental humanity. Its status in law is the prudent fruit of experience, for the good of the spouses and the good of the family. In this way society esteems the married couple as the source and guardians of the next generation. As an institution marriage is at the foundation of our society.

There are many reasons why people get married. For most couples, there is an instinctive understanding that the stability of a marriage provides the best context for the flourishing of their relationship and for bringing up their children. Society recognises marriage as an important institution for these same reasons: to enhance stability in society and to respect and support parents in the crucial task of having children and bringing them up as well as possible.

The Church starts from this appreciation that marriage is a natural institution, and indeed the Church recognises civil marriage. The Catholic understanding of marriage, however, raises this to a new level. As the Catechism says: ‘The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, by its nature is ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptised persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.’ (para.1601)

These rather abstract words are reflected however imperfectly in the experience of married couples. We know that at the heart of a good marriage is a relationship of astonishing power and richness, for the couple, their children, their wider circle of friends and relations and society. As a Sacrament, this is a place where divine grace flows. Indeed, marriage is a sharing in the mystery of God’s own life: the unending and perfect flow of love between Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We know, too, that just as God’s love is creative, so too the love of husband and wife is creative of new life. It is open, in its essence, to welcoming new life, ready to love and nurture that life to its fullness, not only here on earth but also into eternity.

This is a high and noble vision, for marriage is a high and noble vocation. It is not easily followed. But we are sure that Christ is at the heart of marriage, for his presence is a sure gift of the God who is Love, who wants nothing more than for the love of husband and wife to find its fulfilment. So the daily effort that marriage requires, the many ways in which family living breaks and reshapes us, is a sharing in the mission of Christ, that of making visible in the world the creative and forgiving love of God.

In these ways we understand marriage to be a call to holiness for a husband and wife, with children recognised and loved as the gift of God, with fidelity and permanence as the boundaries which create its sacred space. Marriage is also a crucial witness in our society, contributing to its stability, its capacity for compassion and forgiveness and its future, in a way that no other institution can.

In putting before you these thoughts about why marriage is so important, we also want to recognise the experience of those who have suffered the pain of bereavement or relationship breakdown and their contribution to the Church and society. Many provide a remarkable example of courage and fidelity. Many strive to make the best out of difficult and complex situations. We hope that they are always welcomed and helped to feel valued members of our parish communities.

The reasons given by our government for wanting to change the definition of marriage are those of equality and discrimination. But our present law does not discriminate unjustly when it requires both a man and a woman for marriage. It simply recognises and protects the distinctive nature of marriage.

Changing the legal definition of marriage would be a profoundly radical step. Its consequences should be taken seriously now. The law helps to shape and form social and cultural values. A change in the law would gradually and inevitably transform society’s understanding of the purpose of marriage. It would reduce it just to the commitment of the two people involved. There would be no recognition of the complementarity of male and female or that marriage is intended for the procreation and education of children.

We have a duty to married people today, and to those who come after us, to do all we can to ensure that the true meaning of marriage is not lost for future generations.

With every blessing,

Most Reverend Vincent Nichols 
Most Reverend Peter Smith

11th March 2012

POPE BENEDICT ON MARRIAGE

Photo: Stefano Spaziani
The Holy Father has today, to the Bishops of the United States, offered this teaching upon Marriage.

In our previous meetings I acknowledged our concern about threats to freedom of conscience, religion and worship which need to be addressed urgently, so that all men and women of faith, and the institutions they inspire, can act in accordance with their deepest moral convictions. In this talk I would like to discuss another serious issue which you raised with me during my Pastoral Visit to America, namely, the contemporary crisis of marriage and the family, and, more generally, of the Christian vision of human sexuality. It is in fact increasingly evident that a weakened appreciation of the indissolubility of the marriage covenant, and the widespread rejection of a responsible, mature sexual ethic grounded in the practice of chastity, have led to grave societal problems bearing an immense human and economic cost.
...

In this regard, particular mention must be made of the powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage. The Church’s conscientious effort to resist this pressure calls for a reasoned defense of marriage as a natural institution consisting of a specific communion of persons, essentially rooted in the complementarity of the sexes and oriented to procreation. Sexual differences cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the definition of marriage. Defending the institution of marriage as a social reality is ultimately a question of justice, since it entails safeguarding the good of the entire human community and the rights of parents and children alike.

In our conversations, some of you have pointed with concern to the growing difficulties encountered in communicating the Church’s teaching on marriage and the family in its integrity, and to a decrease in the number of young people who approach the sacrament of matrimony. Certainly we must acknowledge deficiencies in the catechesis of recent decades, which failed at times to communicate the rich heritage of Catholic teaching on marriage as a natural institution elevated by Christ to the dignity of a sacrament, the vocation of Christian spouses in society and in the Church, and the practice of marital chastity. This teaching, stated with increasing clarity by the post-conciliar magisterium and comprehensively presented in both the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, needs to be restored to its proper place in preaching and catechetical instruction.
...

In this great pastoral effort there is an urgent need for the entire Christian community to recover an appreciation of the virtue of chastity. The integrating and liberating function of this virtue (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2338-2343) should be emphasized by a formation of the heart, which presents the Christian understanding of sexuality as a source of genuine freedom, happiness and the fulfilment of our fundamental and innate human vocation to love. It is not merely a question of presenting arguments, but of appealing to an integrated, consistent and uplifting vision of human sexuality. The richness of this vision is more sound and appealing than the permissive ideologies exalted in some quarters; these in fact constitute a powerful and destructive form of counter-catechesis for the young.

Young people need to encounter the Church’s teaching in its integrity, challenging and countercultural as that teaching may be; more importantly, they need to see it embodied by faithful married couples who bear convincing witness to its truth. They also need to be supported as they struggle to make wise choices at a difficult and confusing time in their lives. Chastity, as the Catechism reminds us, involves an ongoing "apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom" (2339). In a society which increasingly tends to misunderstand and even ridicule this essential dimension of Christian teaching, young people need to be reassured that "if we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, absolutely nothing, of what makes life free, beautiful and great" (Homily, Inaugural Mass of the Pontificate, 24 April 2005).

Let me conclude by recalling that all our efforts in this area are ultimately concerned with the good of children, who have a fundamental right to grow up with a healthy understanding of sexuality and its proper place in human relationships. Children are the greatest treasure and the future of every society: truly caring for them means recognizing our responsibility to teach, defend and live the moral virtues which are the key to human fulfillment. It is my hope that the Church in the United States, however chastened by the events of the past decade, will persevere in its historic mission of educating the young and thus contribute to the consolidation of that sound family life which is the surest guarantee of intergenerational solidarity and the health of society as a whole.

Benedict XVI

LENT TALK - ST JOHN'S HOSPICE

The Day-Centre at St John's Hopsice
This evening, the Wednesday Lent course at St James's Spanish Place continues with a talk by Andrew Gallini, the Director of Clinical Services at St John’s Hospice which is part of the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth. The treatment of the terminally ill – and their proper palliative care – is a crucial area of modern medicine and social provision: this should be a fascinating and instructive evening. 

Refreshments are offered after the 6pm Mass in the social centre at St James's Church, where the talk will be given at 7pm – followed by questions and discussion, finishing at 8pm (Compline is sung at 6.40pm in church that same evening).