Sunday, 30 January 2011

Prince Charles-Philippe & Princess Diane, Duchesse de Cadaval.

The Grand Master Emeritus Prince Charles-Philippe d'Orleans and his wife Princess Diane, Duchesse de Cadaval, recently granted a private tour of their home in Évora, the palace of the dukes of Cadaval and its superb chapel, to the travel guide ViaMichelin. (See here)

The website says:
"It's not every day that we visit a historical monument with his owners. In Évora, the palace of the dukes of Cadaval belongs to the family of Diana Alvares Pereira de Melo, Duchess of Cadaval. Built on top of Évora, facing the famous Roman temple, this building was a gift in 1390 to an ancestor of Diana, Martim Afonso de Melo, by King John I. Protected by two towers topped with battlements, the palace, whose facade was rebuilt in the 17th century, adopts a pentagonal shape. The galleries house works of art, pieces of furniture and documents relating to the history of the families of both spouses."

Prince Charles-Philippe and Princess Diana were married in 2008 in the Cathedral of Évora by Père Claude Giraud, Dean of Orleans Cathedral and Assistant Chaplain General of the Grand Priory Of France.

Princess Diane is the 11th Duchess of Cadaval, a title confirmed by Dom Duarte Pio, Duke of Braganza, Head of the Royal House of Portugal, and a decendant of Blessed Nuno de Santa Maria Àlvares Pereira, O. Carm. (1360-1431), the Condestável (“Constable,” meaning General) known in Portugal as “the Father of the Nation.” (See this previous entry)
The Duchesse is the author of a best-selling historical novel about Queen Maria Pia of Portugal.

Prince Charles-Philippe d'Orleans, Duke of Anjou, son of Prince and Princess Michael of France and nephew of the Count of Paris, has tried to show "the image of a modern prince, dynamic, courageous and determined."

As recent events have shown, the Prince inspires loyalty and is greatly loved and admired in the Grand Priory of Great Britain and indeed throughout the Order.

Pope Benedict Affirms Solidarity With Lepers

The Holy Father mentioned today's commemoration after he had prayed the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter's Square. Speaking in Italian he said:

Si celebra in questa domenica la “Giornata mondiale dei malati di lebbra”, promossa negli anni ’50 del secolo scorso da Raoul Follereau e riconosciuta ufficialmente dall’ONU. La lebbra, pur essendo in regresso, purtroppo colpisce ancora molte persone in condizione di grave miseria. A tutti i malati assicuro una speciale preghiera, che estendo a quanti li assistono e, in diversi modi, si impegnano a sconfiggere il morbo di Hansen. Saluto in particolare l’Associazione Italiana Amici di Raoul Follereau, che compie 50 anni di attività.

My unofficial translation:

This Sunday we celebrate "World Leprosy Day " promoted in the 1950's by Raoul Follereau and officially recognized by the UN. Leprosy, although declining, still unfortunately affects many people in conditions of extreme poverty. I assure all those who suffer of my special prayer, which I extend to those who assist them and, in different ways, are committed to defeating Hansen's disease. I greet in particular the Italian Association Amici di Raoul Follereau, which has completed 50 years of it's activity.

World Leprosy Day 2011

"Our thoughts immediately turn to Father Damien de Veuster, who gave his life for these brothers and sisters. To his heavenly protection I entrust all those people who, unfortunately still today, suffer from this disease, and all those health workers and volunteers who give themselves for the sake of a world without leprosy."
(Pope Benedict XVI's Angelus message on World Leprosy Day 2010.)

Father Damien (1840-1889) was a Belgian priest who volunteered to minister to the leper colony in Molokai, in Hawaii. He eventually contracted the disease and died a leper. He was canonised in 2009.

Monday, 24 January 2011

The Grand Priory & World Leprosy Day

This Sunday marks the 58th World Leprosy Day.

World Leprosy Day was created in 1954 by French journalist and philosopher Raoul Follereau “so that people affected by leprosy could be cared for like all others who are ill and so that that those in good health could be cured of their absurd and often criminal fear of this disease and those who are affected by it”.

Since its foundation the Military and Hospitaller Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem has cared for those suffering from leprosy. Indeed it began by welcoming knights from other Orders who had been stricken by this disease. Those suffering from leprosy, or Hanson's Disease as it is now known, have always been at the heart of the mission and prayers of the Order and the newly-erected Grand Priory of Great Britain intends to continue helping those who suffer from this disease.

At the Canonisation of St Damien De Veuster, the Leper Priest, the Holy Father said:
"Let us remember before this noble figure that it is charity which makes unity, brings it forth and makes it desirable. Following in St Paul's footsteps, St Damien prompts us to choose the good battle, not the kind that brings division but the kind that gathers people together. He invites us to open our eyes to the forms of leprosy that disfigure the humanity of our brethren and still today call for the charity of our presence as servants, beyond that of our generosity."

The Holy Father urged us all to pray and help those involved in the battle against leprosy and "other forms of leprosy that are due to lack of love because of ignorance and cowardice".

As members of a noble Order of chivalry let us all recommit ourselves to that "charity which makes unity, brings it forth and makes it desirable" and let us continue, with the help of St Lazarus and St Damien, "the good battle" "that gathers people together".

St Damien of Molokai,

pray for all those afflicted by leprosy

and for the Order of St Lazarus.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Volo. Mundáre. "I will it. Be thou made clean"

The Gospel of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite for today, the Third Sunday after the Epiphany, included the moving account of the Lord healing a man suffering from leprosy:

Sequéntia sancti Evangélii secúndum Matthæum (Ch. 8)

In illo témpore: Cum descendísset Jesus de monte, secútæ sunt eum turbæ multæ: et ecce leprósus véniens, adorábat eum, dicens: Dómine, si vis, potes me mundáre. Et exténdens Jesus manum, tétigit eum, dicens: Volo. Mundáre. Et conféstim mundáta est lepra ejus.

At that time, when Jesus was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him; and behold a leper came and adored Him, saying: Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean. And Jesus stretching forth His hand, touched him, saying: I will it. Be thou made clean. And forthwith his leprosy was cleansed.
The Lord's words "I will it. Be thou made clean" should inspire all members of the Order of St Lazarus to continue the work of our forebears in serving those who still suffer from leprosy. As the Grand Master said in his inaugural address:

"Our fundamental raison d’être is to help the poor, the sick, the needy and all those who are unable to help themselves. This will be our priority and everything will be done to refocus the entire Order for this objective."

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Holy Mass to mark the feast of St. Basil the Great

On Monday, 3 January 2011 a solemn Mass was held in the fabulous St. Wenceslas Chapel of the Cathedral of St Vitus in Prague to mark the feast of St. Basil the Great, Patron Saint of the Order of St. Lazarus. St Basil, who died on January 1, 379AD, was not only an excellent writer, preacher and theologian, but in the 4th century founded an exemplary hospital, the Basilias, for lepers, whom he cared for, “not even neglecting to kiss them in defiance of contagion”, we are told. In this he was an example to the Order of St Lazarus, which continued his saintly efforts. A wonderful relic, the skull of the saint, was brought from St. Vitus treasury, where it is reserved.

The Bailiff, the Chancellor and members of the Prague Commandery assisted at Mass which was offered by Fr. Pavel Porochnavec, SChLJ, assisted by Fr. Jan F. Beránek, ChLJ.

This beautifully decorated Chapel, the masterpiece of Czech Gothic, is dedicated to the patron of Czech lands, St Wenceslas, a Bohemian Prince from the Premyslid dynasty assassinated by his own brother. The chapel was built on the site of the Romanesque rotunda where Wenceslas was buried and still houses the holy relics of the saint. The Chapel is not open to the public, but visitors can look in through the door.

Every Czech coronation started in this Chapel, as the kings went to pray there. It is said that whenever the Czech nation was in danger or suffering hard times special night Masses were offered in this Chapel. Mass is still offered here but usually only on the Feast of St Wenceslas (28th September), so this Mass was a wonderful occasion for our noble Order since our new Grand Master, Count Dobrzenský z Dobrzenicz, is not just Czech, but a descendant of St Wenceslas himself. May this Holy Mass usher in not just a New Year, but a new era in the long history of the Order of St Lazarus.

St Wenceslas, Pray for us.

St Basil the Great, Pray for us.

St Lazarus, Pray for us.