Feast Of Blessed Gerard
Holy Mass was celebrated by Mgr Lawrence Gatt, Principal Chaplain of the Maltese Association in the Monastery of the cloistered nuns of St Ursula, to commemorate the Feast of Blessed Gerard, the Founder of the Order of Malta. Reverend Fr Savio Vella SDB, Conventual Chaplain ad honorem concelebrated.
Blessed Fra’ Gerard, Founder of the Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, now known as the Order of Malta, went to Jerusalem towards the end of the eleventh century. There, next to the Church of Saint John, he established a hospice (resting place) for pilgrims and the sick. To maintain his work he founded a religious community. During the Crusader siege of Jerusalem in 1099, he was in the city. All the inhabitants of the city including the Christians were forced to assist in the defence of the walls, but instead of stones, Gerard threw small loaves of bread to the hungry besiegers.
After the conquest of the city, Gerard served the multitude of wounded, sick and dying. Many of the crusading knights put aside the sword to join Gerard in this work and the brotherhood expanded rapidly. On 15 February 1113, Pope Paschal II solemnly approved the Order with the Papal bull, Pie postulatio voluntatis, addressed to ‘Gerard, Founder and Warden of the hospice at Jerusalem and to his lawful successors’. Gerard conceived the principle that the sick and the poor were the ‘lords’ of the members of his order and the members were their ‘serfs’, under the feudal obligation to render the same devotion and reverence that secular lords would receive from their men. He died at Jerusalem on 3 September 1120.
O God, who exalted Blessed Gerard because of his care for the poor and the sick, and through him founded in Jerusalem The Order of Saint John the Baptist, give us the grace of seeing, as he did, the image of your Son in our brothers and sisters. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen.