COMMANDERY EASTER TUESDAY EXCURSION
On Easter Tuesday twenty members of the Commandery of Wales and their guests, enjoyed a wonderful day out in Herefordshire. Early morning Mass was celebrated in the Little Oratory of Newman Hall by Fr Sebastian Jones ChLJ, Executive Chaplain of the Commandery. Mass concluded with the singing of the Eastertide Marian antiphon Regina Cœli at the statue of Our Lady the Seat of Wisdom (Fig. 1). After a fortifying breakfast, cooked by the Cardiff Oratorians, the party set out by charabanc for The Laskett Gardens in Herefordshire.
The gardens at The Laskett, Much Birch, are at the home of Sir Roy Strong, CH, the former Director of the National Portrait Gallery (1967-1973) and of the V & A (1974-1987). Over four decades Sir Roy, and his late wife, Dr Julia Trevelyan Oman, the film, television and theatre designer, created an amazing series of interlinked autobiographical gardens to celebrate their marriage and work. Figs. 2 to 13 are vistas of the house and gardens as we found them on this gloriously sunning Easter Tuesday. It was a privilege for the Commandery that we were the first official visit to The Laskett in the 2017 season. We are very grateful to Sir Roy for allowing us to visit the gardens, and to his PA, Fiona Fyshe, for organising the tour.
Luncheon was taken at the Cottage of Content in nearby Carey. This is a charming country inn, located in the Herefordshire countryside, which has just won the 2017 Country Pub of the Year award.
After lunch we boarded the coach for a journey into North Herefordshire to the Williams Chase Distillery. Chase specialises in distilling award winning vodka and gin from potatoes and apples grown on its own large estate. We sampled a variety of the vodkas produced at Chase, then went on a very informative tour of the distillery plant, finally returning to the tasting gallery to sample a variety of the Chase produced gins and wonderful flavoured vodkas. This made for a pleasantly soporific return coach journey to Newman Hall, Cardiff. A most enjoyable day was had by all!
One of the highlights of the day was when the Receiver-General, Chev David Wheeler KCLJ, and the Commandery Receiver, Peter Hughes KLJ, presented the Commander with two cheques from the St Lazarus Charitable Trust for the monies we have recently raised for the Orbis telemedicine project (£200) and the Samburu emergency dermatology appeal (£1,800). The Samburu appeal was in direct response to telemedicine data recorded in the frontline clinics in Kenya. These two cheques have been forwarded to Orbis and the Samburu Trust.
Fig. 1 - Our Lady Seat of Wisdom in the Little Oratory, Cardiff
Fig. 2 - Laskett House
Fig. 3 - Laskett House and Fountain Court
Fig. 4 - Howdah Court
Fig. 5 - The Stag in the Christmas Orchard
Fig. 6 - Britannia
Fig. 7 - V & A Temple
Fig. 8 - Elizabethan Tudor Walk
Fig. 9 - Wall detail between the Arts Garden and Colonnade Court
Fig. 10 - Silver Jubilee Garden
Fig. 11 - Howdah Court
Fig. 12 - Reception Area, Chase Distillery
Fig. 13 - Group Photo, Commandery & Guests, Chase Distillery
Report by Chev. David Woolf KLJ, BMLJ
VISIT TOTHE ORBIS FLYING EYE HOSPITAL
For the past two years the Commandery of Wales has raised funds to promote and support the application of telemedicine in the Third World. The long term aim of this project is to encourage the St Lazarus Trust that telemedicine is a viable project to support in the leprosy clinics that it funds around the world. Telemedicine enables digital images of medical conditions in Third World clinics to be recorded and electronically transmitted for a second opinion to specialist clinicians who can be located anywhere in the world. This technique is now being applied to all branches of medicine and surgery.
The Commandery of Wales has funded two pilot projects to demonstrate that this technique works. The first project was with the Sambruru Trust in Kenya, under the direction of Mr Daniel Morris CMLJ. I am currently working with Daniel to determine whether there is any more support that we can give to the Sambruru Trust.
The second project was with Orbis, the international sight saving charity. Orbis are committed to applying telemedicine in all of their clinics. This setup is used not only for the diagnosis of eye conditions, but is integral to their teaching work where they train locally based surgeons, doctors and nurses.
Orbis fund and run a Flying Eye Hospital (FEH). This is a McDonnell Douglas MD-10 which was donated and kitted out by FedEx. Engineering and flight crew staff from FedEx give up part of their annual leave to maintain and operate this aircraft. Orbis staff the FEH with an international group of surgical, medical, nursing and support personnel who also undertake tours of duty during their vacations from their day jobs. The FEH is flown into various Third World locations. It is then converted into an operating theatre and teaching hospital. All pre-surgery assessment work is digitally recorded for teaching and diagnostic purposes. The flight crew quarters convert into a lecture theatre with a live feed into the operating theatre. While a surgeon is performing surgery one of his surgical colleagues is using the live link to teach students and trainee surgeons in the lecture theatre. Complicated cases can be FaceTimed to a specialist centre anywhere in the world.
In recognition of the support given to the Orbis telemedicine work by the Commandery of Wales, I was invited to visit the FEH when it was on a stopover at Stansted Airport on Tuesday 14th March 2017. Below is a selection of photographs I took during the tour of the FEH. I hope that you will agree that this is a most impressive project?
Fig. 1 A slide detailing why the Orbis volunteers are passionate about their work.
Fig. 2 The MD-10 Flying Eye Hospital (FEH) on the airport apron at Stansted.
Fig. 3 FedEx donated and maintain the FEH.
Fig. 4 Detail of the FEH tailplane with the Orbis logo.
Fig. 5 Cockpit of the FEH. Gary Dyson is the Chief Pilot for Orbis. He is a former F15 ‘Eagle’ pilot and now works for FedEx. During his vacations he flies the FEH.
Fig. 6 The crew quarters on the FEH, which convert to a lecture theatre when the FEH is converted into its surgical mode.
Fig. 7 The diagnostic and assessment clinic on board the FEH. Part of the telemedicine system is in the foreground.
Fig. 8 The operating theatre located in the centre of the FEH where the wings meet the fuselage. This is the most stable part of the aircraft. The telemedicine cameras are located in the ceiling of the operating theatre and also within the surgeon's operating microscope.
Fig. 9 Post op-recovery suite.
Report by Chev. David Woolf KLJ, BMLJ
ADVENT VIGIL (Vespers) & DINNER, Friday 2nd December, 2016
On Friday 2nd December 2016, by kind permission of Sr Teresa, Mother Superior of Nazareth House (Cardiff), the Commandery of Wales gathered in the University Church for a celebration of Vespers for the First Friday in Advent. Fr Sebastian Jones ChLJ, Moderator of the Cardiff Oratory and Commandery Executive Chaplain (Catholic), officiated. The Office was beautifully sung by the Newman Hall Schola under the direction of Dominic Neville, Choirmaster at the Metropolitan Cathedral of St David. Canon Brendan Clover ChLJ, Commandery Executive Chaplain (Anglican), preached a superb Advent homily. Vespers concluded with a stunning rendition of the Alma Redemptoris Mater.
After Vespers, the Commandery and our visitors were invited to Newman Hall for a drinks reception in the library, followed by a sumptuous dinner in the refectory, hosted by the Chaplain, Warden, Fellows and Scholars of the Hall. The Newman Hall charism of Christian hospitality and generosity was very much in evidence that evening! £800 was raised that evening to fund our St Lazarus charitable giving. Thank you, one and all, for your support!
Fig 1 The Entrance Procession into the University Church
Fig 2 The Conclusion of Vespers
Fig 3 The Commandery recessional after Vespers
Fig 4 Dinner in the Newman Hall Refectory
Fig 5 Dominic Neville, Choirmaster of the Newman Schola, and Jeffrey Morgan OLJ
Fig 6 Dinner guests in the Newman Hall Refectory
Fig 7 Fr Alexander Gee, Warden of Newman Hall, in conversation with the Commandery Hospitaller, Craig Williams OLJ
Fig 8 The Commander proposing the toast to the Order
Report by Chev. David Woolf KLJ, BMLJ
AUTUMN NATIONAL INVESTITURE, SOUTHWELL MINSTER, NOTTINGHAMSHIRE, Saturday 29th October, 2016
On Friday 28th October 2016 eight members of the Commandery of Wales, accompanied by three guests, travelled to the historic city of Southwell for the National Investiture of the Grand Priory of England and Wales. We were there to support Fr Thomas Bates, curate of St Catherine’s Caerphilly, who was to be admitted to the Order in the rank of Assistant Chaplain.
The quire of the beautiful Southwell Minster, a fine example of both Norman and Early English architectural styles, was the setting for the Office of Vigil on the Friday evening, which was presided over by Fr Ian Evans, Chaplain-General. Fr Ian delivered a most poignant series of meditations on The Beatitudes. After the Vigil we gathered in the Minster Great Hall for a buffet supper.
On Saturday we congregated again in Southwell Minster for the Investiture Service. Neil Buffin OLJ (Commandery Secretary) and Craig Williams OLJ (Hospitaller) were selected to be acolytes for the ecclesiastical procession (Fig. 1).
Following the admission of Fr Tom Bates AChLJ (Fig. 2), Chev. Michael Eddershaw was promoted to the rank of KCLJ. Eleanor Eddershaw and Sally Jeremy were both admitted to the Companionate of Merit with the rank of Officer, OMLJ, in recognition of the many years of support they have given the Commandery of Wales. Chev Dr David Woolf (Commander) was awarded the Bronze Medal of Merit, BMLJ.
At the conclusion of the investiture service the retiring Chaplain-General, Fr Ian Evans QHC SChLJ, handed over his reins of office to Canon Victor Bullock SChLJ. We then processed from the Minster down Southwell High Street to The Saracen’s Head hotel for a splendid Investiture luncheon. Chev Mario Rizzardi KLJ and the members of the King Offa Commandery, together with the Secretary-General, Chev Gareth Vaughan KCLJ, are to be congratulated for organising a most enjoyable investiture weekend.
The members of the Commandery of Wales presented, in private, a bottle of Penderyn Whiskey to Fr Ian Evans both to celebrate his retirement as Chaplain-General and in appreciation for his support of our Commandery activities.
Report by Chev. David Woolf KLJ, BMLJ
PILGRIMAGE TO PENRHYS, PENDERYN & BRECON, Saturday 24th September, 2016
As a sequel to our Commandery summer pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, twenty members of the Commandery, possible Postulants, and their guests made a pilgrimage to the mountain top Shrine of Our Lady of Penrhys (Fig. 1). The serendipitous date for this pilgrimage was Saturday 24th September 2016, the Solemnity of Our Lady of Walsingham. The shrine at Penrhys was selected for this pilgrimage because, as the pilgrims were informed in Walsingham, the original images of Our Lady of Walsingham and Our Lady of Penrhys were both burnt in the same bonfire in Chelsea Manor on the 18th July 1538 by Thomas Cromwell during the horrors and destruction of the Reformation.
The day started with the Very Revd Dr Sebastian Jones ChLJ, Catholic Chaplain to the Commandery, celebrating Mass of Our Lady of Walsingham in the Little Oratory at Newman Hall. A newly installed icon of Our Lady of Walsingham (Fig. 2) is housed and venerated in the Little Oratory. After a fortifying breakfast in the Newman Hall refectory (Fig. 3), cooked by the Cardiff Oratorians, the merry band of pilgrims set off by charabanc for the Rhondda Valley. There we were met at Penrhys, bathed in crisp autumnal sunshine, by Fr Thomas Bates AChLJ, who lead us in devotions to Our Lady of Penrhys (Fig. 4) and gave a brief history of the foundation of the shrine, its destruction in the Reformation and subsequent restoration (Fig. 5).
The pilgrimage then took on a slightly different ‘spiritual’ character when we made our way up through Mynydd Ystradffernol, enjoying the stunning views on Hirwaun Common and on to the famous Penderyn Distillery. There the staff made us most welcome demonstrating the distilling process and allowing us to sample, and purchase, their various products (Figs. 6, 7 and 8).
The coach journey continued through the majestic Brecon Beacons, where Pen y Fan was bathed in glorious sunshine, and onto the Cathedral Church of St John the Evangelist, Brecon, where we were welcomed by the Very Revd Dr Paul Shackerley, the Dean of Brecon and Fr Steven Griffith, the Priest-Vicar. Following a splendid lunch in the Brecon Cathedral Heritage Centre, Fr Steven conducted us on a most enlightening tour of the Cathedral (Figs. 9 and 10).
The afternoon concluded with Commandery Evensong in quire (Fig. 11), celebrated according to the Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham (the Ordinariate rite). Fr Steven officiated, the Commander, Chev Dr David Woolf KLJ, and Bro Ambrose, of the Cardiff Oratory, read the lessons, and Fr Sebastian Jones ChLJ preached the homily (Fig. 12). Evensong concluded with the Marshal, Confrère Haydn Rees OLJ, leading the congregation to icon of Our Lady, the Vladimirskaya, for the recitation of the Salve Regina and the offering of votive candles for the work of our Order (Fig. 13). Confrère Neil Buffin OLJ, expertly played the cathedral organ for the Office, and with great flair, incorporated the wonderful en chamade trumpet stop in his voluntary (Fig. 14).
Fig. 1 - The Shrine of Our Lady of Penrhys.
Fig. 2 - Icon of Our Lady of Walsingham in the Little Oratory, Newman Hall, Cardiff.
Fig. 3 - Breakfast in the Newman Hall Refectory
Fig. 4 - Devotions at the Shrine of Our Lady of Penrhys
Fig. 5 - Fr Tom Bates recounting the history of the Shrine at Penrhys
Fig. 6 - Pilgrims in the Tasting Bar at the Penderyn Distillery
Fig. 7 -Sampling the various products on offer at Penderyn
Fig. 8 - The Commander and the Chaplain agreeing that dilution is never a good thing!
Fig. 9 - Fr Steven Griffith, Priest-Vicar of Brecon, leading the tour of the Cathedral
Fig. 10 - Pilgrims on the guided tour of Brecon Cathedral
Fig. 11 - Commandery Evensong in Quire at Brecon Cathedral
Fig. 12 - The Commander, Dr Woolf, reading the first lesson at Evensong
Fig. 13 - Members of the Commandery reciting the Salve Regina at the conclusion of Evensong
Fig. 14 - Confrère Neil Buffin OLJ playing the organ of Brecon Cathedral for Commandery Evensong
VESPERS OF OUR LADY AT TINTERN ABBEY, Sunday 4th September, 2016.
Each year, on the Sunday closest to the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Friends of Our Lady of Tintern host an ecumenical celebration of Vespers of Our Lady in the grounds of the ruined former Cistercian Abbey of Tintern. In recent years the Friends of Our Lady of Tintern have extended an invitation to members of the Order of St Lazarus in the Commandery of Wales to attend this event, take part in the robed procession and sit in quire.
Despite the recent appalling weather, the rain held off on the afternoon of Sunday 4th September when eight members of the Commandery travelled to Tintern Abbey for Vespers. We enjoyed a most convivial picnic luncheon in the grounds surrounding the abbey before joining the Friends of Our Lady of Tintern for the colourful procession into the abbey ruins. The preacher at Vespers was The Rt Revd Dr Barry Morgan OStJ, ECLJ, Anglican Archbishop of Wales, who is a member of the Commandery. After Vespers, Dr Morgan met with members of the Commandery who wished him well for his forthcoming retirement.
Fig 1: Sunday afternoon picnic in the precincts of Tintern Abbey before the start of Vespers
Fig 2: The procession arrives at the abbey ruins for Vespers
Fig 3: Jeffrey Morgan OLJ, Dr David Woolf KLJ BMLJ (Commander of Wales), Craig Williams OLJ (Hospitaller), Anthony Jeremy KCLJ MMLJ (Chancellor and Almoner), Dr Barry Morgan ECLJ (Archbishop of Wales), Neil Buffin OLJ (Secretary), Dame Erica Austin DLJ BMLJ, Haydn Rees OLJ (Marshal of Wales) and Charles Jeremy OLJ (Sword Bearer)
COMMANDERY OF WALES PILGRIMAGE TO WALSINGHAM, July 2016.
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)
St Mary's, The Docks, Cardiff - Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady
Maria assumpta est. Laus Deo!