Inspired by a rallying pre-pilgrimage itinerary message from Fr Ian Evans QHC, SChLJ, the Chaplain-General, eighteen pilgrims, under the auspices of the Commandery of Wales, made the 250-mile journey on Friday 22nd July 2016 to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. Six of the group were first time Walsingham pilgrims.
After Vespers and supper, the pilgrim group gathered in The Orangery for an illustrated lecture on the history of Walsingham given by the Commander of Wales, Dr David Woolf KLJ, a Member of the Order of Our Lady of Walsingham.
Fig 1 the Commander’s lecture.
Following the lecture the Interim Administrator, Fr Philip Barnes, treated the pilgrims to a splendid summer evening’s drinks party on the lawn of the College.
Fig 2 the Interim Administrator’s drinks party.
Early the following morning the pilgrims were given a guided tour of the Shrine grounds by Tessa Hobbs, the Landscape Gardener who was responsible for the total redesign of the grounds in 2004 and its subsequent management.
Fig 3 tour of the Shrine grounds by Tessa Hobbs.
Tessa explained how the grounds had been designed to balance the need for a peaceful space for quiet, private contemplation, with the facility to accommodate large liturgical celebrations.
Fig 4 pilgrims walking the serpentine path that bisects the Shrine grounds.
Later in the morning, Canon Brendan Clover, ChLJ MMLJ, a Chaplain of the Commandery, celebrated Mass in the Holy House for the Anglican pilgrims.
Fig 5 Fr Brendan Clover at the altar of the Holy House in the Shrine Church in Walsingham.
After lunch the pilgrims gathered in the village car park, next to the site of the medieval Lazar House (leper hostel). In glorious summer sunshine we made our way along the Holy Mile to the Slipper Chapel at the Basilica of Our Lady of Walsingham, following the route of the former Fakenham to Walsingham branch line. We paused briefly at the old village railway station, now converted to an Orthodox chapel, to recall the first pilgrimage to Walsingham organised by Fr Alfred Hope Patten in 1922.
Fig 6 the Chaplain and the Commander deep in erudite conversation!
Having entered through the Year of Mercy Jubilee Holy Door at the Slipper Chapel, we were welcomed to the Basilica by the Rector, the Rt Revd Monsignor John Armitage, who presided at Commandery Vespers, assisted by Fr Brendan and Dr Woolf.
Fig 7 Commandery Vespers in the Slipper Chapel.
In December 2015 the Holy Father, Pope Francis, promoted the National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham to the status of a Minor Basilica. One of the privileges of a Basilica is that it is allowed to display a papal ombrellino, which displays the heraldic arms of the Pope and the arms of the Basilica. In March 2016 Dr Woolf arranged for the arms of the National Shrine, which are derived from the ancient Priory of Walsingham arms, to be adapted to incorporate the insignia of a Basilica. These have been woven onto the ombrellino that is on display in the Basilica.
Fig 8 the ombrellino of the Basilica of Our Lady of Walsingham. The arms of Pope Francis are on the right, and the arms of the Basilica are shown on the left.
Vespers concluded with devotions at the image of Our Lady of Walsingham, after which the Commander presented the Rector with a new flag of the arms of the Basilica. This was a gift from the Chaplain, Fellows & Students of Newman Hall (Cardiff University Catholic Chaplaincy), the Cardiff Oratory in Formation, and the Sisters of Nazareth. The Commandery of Wales uses Newman Hall in Cardiff as its base.
Fig 9 the Commander presents the new flag of the Basilica Arms to Rector.
Monsignor Armitage invited the members of the Commandery present to accompany him to the Basilica flagpole where he ran up the flag for the first time.
Fig 10 Canon Brendan Clover, Monsignor John Armitage and Dr David Woolf prepare to run up the new Basilica flag for the first time.
Fig 11 the Basilica flag.
Fig 12 Commandery of Wales pilgrims with Monsignor John Armitage at the Basilica of Our Lady of Walsingham
The return journey along the Holy Mile to Walsingham was concluded with a refreshing beverage outside Walsingham’s famous Bull Inn.
Fig 13 pilgrims at the Bull Inn, Walsingham, after completing the Holy Mile.
After supper the Commandery pilgrims joined the other two hundred weekend pilgrims for the traditional Saturday evening candlelit procession of the image of Our Lady of Walsingham around the Shrine grounds.
Fig 14 Preparing for the procession of the image of Our Lady of Walsingham, Canon Brendan Clover sat in quire with Fr Philip Warner, Cardinal Rector of St Magnus the Martyr, London.
Fig 15 The Interim Administrator and a Guardian of the Shrine, Fr Philip Barnes, and Dr David Woolf, a Member of the Order of Our Lady of Walsingham, escort the image of Our Lady of Walsingham.
Fig 16 pilgrims singing the famous Walsingham Pilgrim Hymn with great gusto during the candlelit procession.
Fig 17 pilgrims enjoying a post-procession debrief in the Bull Inn.
The following morning, Sunday, pilgrims worshipped at Mass at the Anglican Parish Church of St Mary or the Catholic Church of the Annunciation. The Commandery pilgrimage concluded with the sprinkling liturgy at the well next to the Holy House in the Shrine Church.
All agreed that this Commandery pilgrimage was an amazing and rewarding mixture of the sacred and secular. As the Chaplain-General, Fr Ian Evans, wrote in our pilgrimage itinerary, "When all is over and the return journey beckons, may you depart refreshed and revitalised in faith. May that blessing and revival of Spirit, renew within you all, your dedicated service to the Military & Hospitaller Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem." We look forward to future pilgrimages to Walsingham, England’s Nazareth. We fervently hope there may be an opportunity to organise a Grand Priory Pilgrimage to Walsingham.
Chev. Dr David Woolf KLJ, Commander
(Photographs: Peter E. Woolf)
A new water purification unit has been installed at the Leprosy Hospital of Believers’ Church of Purulia, India, sponsored by the Order of St Lazarus and organised by Ramakrishna Vivekananda Mission, India. The money was raised by members of the Commandery of John of Gaunt. Samir from Purulia writes that it has been of enormous benefit for leprosy patients and also staff members and local residents, especially since the temperature is currently around 50⁰C in that area.
The following documents are now available in the Downloads section of the Members' area
List of Self-Styled (and therefore unrecognized) Orders of Chivalry
Questions & Answers about the Order
Over 25 years ago, leading members of the Order concluded that corruption and inadequate governance were barriers to development and reducing the impact of foreign aid in many ‘third world’ countries; and also significantly reducing the benefits that local populations were receiving from the exploitation of natural resources. The Order's International Governance Initiative was established to address these and related issues such as reducing fraud and promoting responsible and ethical practices in business and Government. It has been headed since its formation by Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas who had been Bailiff of the Grand Priory of England and Wales and who was made Bailiff Emeritus and leader of the new initiative. His activities have now involved some 40 countries, with a particular focus on BRIC countries, areas where leprosy is still prevalent, such as India and West Africa, or places riven with conflict and inter-communal issues such as the Middle East.
In 2014 and 2015 Prof. Coulson-Thomas travelled to Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Brasil, France (Paris), Dubai, India (Bengaluru, Delhi, Karnatika, Kerala, Mumbai), Malaysia, Turkey (Istanbul), Singapore and Sri Lanka to visit projects and speak on issues concerning directors, boards and governance. He spoke at eight separate events in Dubai, including a global convention and world congress on leadership. Ten presentations or speeches in India included contributions to international conferences on social responsibility, environment management, total quality and leadership. Groups he has spoken to include senior UK Government officials, Senators and national committee chairs and vice-chairs from Nigeria with a particular interest in reducing fraud and corruption. Publications during the period include theme papers for eight international conventions, conferences, congresses or summits, and six edited book chapters, including contributions putting the case for a greater focus of corporate social responsibility effort on leprosy and leprosy-sufferers.
Prof. Coulson-Thomas speaking at the World Congress on Environment Management in July 2015. He began with a quotation from Pope Francis about our planet "beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth."
Receiving a presentation from Lt Gen J.S. Ahluwalia PVSM. the President
of Institute of Directors, India.
On the same visit Prof. Coulson-Thomas gave a talk at Amity University, his visit being hosted by the chairman of the group's hospitals and middle eastern activities.
The Revd Louis Baycock's thoughtful meditation on The Beatitudes, given on 24th October at the Vigil Service in St Olave's Church, Exeter, at last year's National Vigil & Investiture, is now available to download here.
It is with regret and embarrassment that I must announce the inadvertent omission from the Grand Priory's Newsletter of the Annual Report from the Commandery of Aragon. To go some way towards offseting this error and the disappointment it must cause, I give below the Report as submitted and edited: