Feast of St John the Baptist and Investiture Ceremony
The Feast of St. John the Baptist, our Patron Saint, was very fittingly celebrated at St. John’s Co-Cathedral, this year on the Solemnity proper.
Unfortunately the most exceptional thunderstorm which hit our Islands earlier in the afternoon, and the heavy rain which that brought along, lead to the cancellation of the outdoor procession which had originally been scheduled to precede the liturgical celebration.
However, the splendour of the cathedral which never ceases to marvel very soon wiped away any disappointment as the relatively good turnout of Members, including two visiting confreres, solemnly processed out of the sacristy.
His Grace the Archbishop was also one of the casualties of the inclement weather, though Solemn High Mass was most ably celebrated by Monsignor Lawrence Mifsud as Main Celebrant, together with all other members of the clergy who concelebrated.
In distinguished attendance was His Excellency Umberto Di Capua, the Order’s Ambassador to Malta, accompanied by his wife Mrs. Marinella Di Capua. In their honour, the homily was rendered by the Main Celebrant in impressively fluent Italian.
Members of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem also graced us with their presence, in line with tradition.
The Readings were delivered by the Chancellor and the Hospitaller, whilst the Treasurer read out the bidding prayers.
A procession within the Cathedral then followed, effecting the Translation of St. John’s Relic.
After a short break in the sacristy, where traditional refreshments were served, Members still in their Church robes then processed to the Oratory housing Caravaggio’s stunning masterpiece where an Investiture Ceremony was held, presided over by the Principal Chaplain, under the keen eye of Fra Francis Vassallo.
Proceedings were very seamlessly conducted by the President, assisted by the Vice-President and the Chancellor.
Vivien, Dowager Marchioness Cassar de Sayn, was promoted to the rank of Dame Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion.
Mrs. Lilian Miceli Farrugia was promoted to the rank of Dame Grand Cross of Magistral Grace in Obedience; whilst Mrs. Marie Attard Montalto passed into the rank of Dame of Honour and Devotion and Peter Sant Manduca passed into the rank of Knight of Grace and Devotion.
Dr. Bernard Coleiro, Dr. Michael Ellul Sullivan and Mr. Frederick Mifsud Bonnici were promoted to Knights of Magistral Grace; whilst Mrs Martha (Matty) Cremona and Mrs Maria Pia (Marian) Galea were promoted to Dames of Magistral Grece.
Finally, Mrs Marianna (Ninna) Pace was awarded Cross with Crown pro Merito Melitensi.
A Reception was then hosted at the Association’s headquarters, Casa Lanfreducci, allowing Members, spouses and guests to socialise and continue the celebrations in a more informal atmosphere.
Dr K. Dingli