Monday 8 October 2012

Message from Fr Simon Henry, Chaplain General.

 Fr Simon Henry, ECLJ, CMLJ, Chaplain General of the Grand Priory of Great Britain 
with His Eminence Cardinal Duka, Chaplain General of the Order

In the near future we are holding this year’s Investiture of new members to the Order.  It struck me that as we make practical preparations for it (even if it’s just arranging for our journey and making hotel reservations), we should make some spiritual preparation as well - in prayer by asking for God’s blessing upon us and our work. 

As we do so, it would also be good to give thanks for the past year, which has seen so many blessings under the leadership both internationally from our Grand Master and locally under our Prior, H.E. Martin Thacker (for whom we pray most especially at this time after the recent sudden death of his father).

After the great success of last year’s Investiture which saw so many new members and companions we have seen some of their commitment bear fruit.  Two of those who became companions are among those now being admitted fully to the Order and so they will now become our brothers and sisters. 

Of the Companions, the group who hail from the Yorkshire area have been raising funds for SUROL, our adopted leprosy charity in conjunction with Cardinal Ranjith in Sri Lanka. 

Many of the Yorkshire Companions built on the existing links to come by coach with their friends to the Garden Party held at Farington to which raised the great amount of £1,000 for St Catherine’s Hospice, to add to the £600 we have already given to the Hospice.  They have also been raising funds locally - again for SUROL.

Some of the new members who were accepted last year have been getting active in organising events.  Confrere Anthony Dickinson organised a Carol Concert last Christmas, which was so successful that it will be repeated again this year.  New members Daniel and Margaret Lawler are busy organising a Burn’s Night Supper for early next year, which is already sparking great interest.

We rejoice that we have raised £9,000 for SUROL over the past year.

Confrere William Hackett continues to play the pipes all over Glasgow and beyond, raising a constant stream of funds for our charities, as well as representing the Priory in Jerusalem on the Italian Priory’s pilgrimage there.

In London, Lt Col Julian Tyson-Woodcock has been busy organising some fine dinners both at the RAF Club and the Guard’s Club in support of Veteran’s Aid.

Internationally, the Priory of Great Britain and friends of the Order from the UK were prominent in their attendance at the recent wonderful Investiture in Prague, where His Eminence Dominik Cardinal Duka has become the Chaplain General to the Order, in the presence of the Papal Nuncio to the Czech Republic.  The importance of having a newly appointed Roman Cardinal to support the Order is hard to over-estimate.  He has already been a great boon to the Order in assisting with the recognition by the Holy See of the Order in the Czech Lands as a Pious Union of the Faithful.  The Order has also just been granted NGO status by the United Nations.

So, if we are to make thanks to God in prayer, not least for the ongoing friendship and commaraderie among us, there is a long list for which to say...
 Deo Gratias.

 Fr Simon Henry, ECLJ, CMLJ, BA (Hons), MA.