Whilst there is no obligation for any recipient of a Papal honour to become a member of the Association, there is an undoubted commonality between the recipients through their award and where possible, different events are arranged from time to time in which those so honoured may become involved and take part in honourable fellowship.
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Holy See Press Office Communiqué, 29.09.2019

The Holy Father has decided to invite all the faithful, of all the world, to pray the Holy Rosary every day, during the entire Marian month of October, and thus to join in communion and in penitence, as the people of God, in asking the Holy Mother of God and Saint Michael Archangel to protect the Church from the devil, who always seeks to separate us from God and from each other.

In recent days, before his departure for the Baltic States, the Holy Father met with Fr. Fréderic Fornos, S.J., international director of the World Network of Prayer for the Pope, and asked him to spread this appeal to all the faithful throughout the world, inviting them to conclude the recitation of the Rosary with the ancient invocation “Sub Tuum Praesidium”, and with the prayer to Saint Michael Archangel that he protect us and help us in the struggle against evil (cf. Revelation 12, 7-12).

The prayer – the Pontiff affirmed a few days ago, on 11th September, in a homily at Santa Marta, citing the first book of Job – is the weapon against the Great Accuser who “goes around the world seeking to accuse.” Only prayer can defeat him. The Russian mystics and the great Saints of all the traditions advised, in moments of spiritual turbulence, to shelter beneath the mantle of the Holy Mother of God pronouncing the invocation “Sub Tuum Praesidium”.

The invocation “Sub Tuum Praesidium” is recited as follows:

“Sub tuum praesidium confugimus Sancta Dei Genitrix. Nostras deprecationes ne despicias in necessitatibus, sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper, Virgo Gloriosa et Benedicta.”

[We fly to Thy protection, O Holy Mother of God. Do not despise our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O Glorious and Blessed Virgin].

With this request for intercession the Holy Father asks the faithful of all the world to pray that the Holy Mother of God place the Church beneath her protective mantle: to preserve her from the attachks by the devil, the great accuser, and at the same time to make her more aware of the faults, the errors and the abuses committed in the present and in the past, and committed to combating without any hesitation, so that evil may not prevail.

The Holy Father has also asked that the recitation of the Holy Rosary during the month of October conclude with the prayer written by Leo XIII:

“Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio; contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium. Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur: tuque, Princeps militiae caelestis, Satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo, divina virtute, in infernum detrude. Amen.”

Saint Michael Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen].
For both the interest and inspiration of members, the following is a copy of the excellent homily
that Bishop Philip Egan preached at our recent annual Mass and Celebration in Portsmouth Cathedral.


Exactly a week ago, the Church kept the feast of that outstanding 7th century Pope whose name adorns one of the Equestrian Orders here today, St. Gregory the Great.  I mention this because St. Gregory is the Apostle of the English.  St. Bede in his Ecclesiastical History tells the famous story of how one day the Pope saw some strange-looking, fair-haired slaves in the Roman slave market. Enquiring about their identity, he was told they were Angles from the island of Britain.  In reply, he said they’re not Angles but Angels.  Thus was he inspired to send St. Augustine and a delegation to convert the Anglo-Saxons of these lands.  They had, as history tells us, great success.  

But let’s return to this in a moment.  For I’m delighted to welcome you, knights and dames of St. Gregory and of St. Sylvester, to this annual Mass in the Cathedral, to celebrate and renew your commitment, each in your various orders.  A knight, a dame, is like an honoured soldier of great distinction, chosen by the Pope and the Bishop for their great merit and generous service.  As soldiers of Christ, the words of St. Paul in the1st century apply especially to you: You must live your whole life according to the Christ you have received; you must be rooted in him, built on him, held firm by the faith you have been taught, full of thanksgiving.  A soldier of Christ defends the Truth, works for justice and serves God’s Kingdom in every possible way.  Indeed, a knight, a dame is a servant truly loyal to the Master, to the Lord Jesus, ready like Him to give up even their life for the Catholic Faith.  It’s this that prompts me to make of you two specific requests.  First, that you reflect on the opening line from today’s Gospel: Jesus went out into the hills to pray and spent the whole night in prayer to God.  

The Church at this moment is in a fevered state, largely the result of the sins and crimes committed by a few of the clergy.  This is a real obstacle to mission.  Never has that call of Vatican II, the universal call to holiness, been more urgent.  Every one of us, every member of the Church clerical or lay, every knight and every dame: we should each actively seek to be people utterly dependent on prayer, to be holy people, to be people modelled on Christ.  In this Gospel, Jesus leads by His perfect example. Before making a major decision, to appoint the twelve Apostles, he spent the night in prayer.  As God the Son, of course, He didn’t need to, but He wanted to leave us an example to guide us, to inspire us, to show us how to make important decisions.

As knights and dames, people look to you and to your example, which is why I ask you to make holiness even more central to your objectives.  But secondly, the call to mission is now very urgent, not least here in this Diocese of Portsmouth.  The Christian patrimony of our land, which St. Gregory, St. Augustine, St. Bede and the Saints of yore toiled hard to establish, is now gravely eroded and under threat.  21st century Britain is rapidly sinking back into paganism as we see in recent legislation.  This is why we must redouble our efforts at mission and service.  Indeed, charity and service of the poor speak volumes.  And that’s my second request: that as knights and dames you give even more generously to works of mission, service and charity, looking out for the neediest.  I will give you glory, O God my King sang the Psalm.  In this Mass, as we thank God for our call, let’s ask Him to bless us.  May He guide each one of us.  May He bring us all safely one day to our heavenly home.