The annual Votive Lamp Pilgrimage started at 5.15 p.m. with a cortege from the newly restored church of St Cathaldus to St Paul’s Church, where the President of the Maltese Association, HE Marchesino Daniel de Petri Testaferrata read, and Rev. Mgr John Azzopardi gave an explanation of, the Motu Proprio decree issued by Grand Master Fra Matthew Festing on the 21 October 2015. St Paul’s Grotto and the Wignacourt Museum were declared as forming part of the spiritual and cultural heritage of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, thus placing them under the patronage of the Prince and Grand Master.
After Mass, the votive lamp was carried in procession to St Paul’s Grotto where it was hung in front of the statue of St Paul.
Just a few days before the Lourdes Pilgrimage takes place, patients, helpers and pilgrims gathered at St Ursula’s Monastery in Valletta for a special Mass in preparation for Lourdes.
Holy Mass was celebrated by the Maltese Association Principal Chaplain Mgr Lawrence Gatt assisted by Conventual Chaplain Fr Savio Vella. In his homily Mgr Gatt spoke about the Lourdes experience and the special devotion to Our Virgin Mother.
Frederick Mifsud Bonnici read the bidding prayers.
At the end of Holy Mass Maltese Association President, Marchesino Daniel de Petri Testaferrata recited the Prayer of the Order.
As the sun shone that morning, we knew it would make it that much easier for our dear friends to turn up for one of our regular tea parties. Not that we ever harbour any doubts regarding the enthusiasm and trust shared between our guests and us volunteers! Far from it!! It is becoming seemingly more difficult to leave anyone out.
February 24th, 2016 marked our 30th Tea party” Wow how amazing! Each one along the way has served to seal a great friendship and so much love between us all. What great people they are! Each individual with his/her own inner beauty”
The Corinthia staff are so welcoming and serve our guests with a smile and so much kindness. As usual the food was great and so beautifully prepared. We had all sorts of sandwiches, pastizzi, cake, chocolate eclairs and scones with jam and cream!! Who could ask for more!
At the end the XXIV European Hospitallers’ Conference in Malta, Pontifical High Mass was presided by the Archbishop of Malta, HG Mgr Charles J. Scicluna, with HE Mgr Jean Lafitte, Prelate of the Order in the presence of HMEH Frà Matthew Festing, Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta.
The participants of the conference together with members of the Sovereign Council, the Maltese Association Council, and members and volunteers of the Maltese Association also took part in the Mass.
As the world faces the greatest humanitarian crisis since the mid 20th century, senior officials in the Order of Malta met over two intense days of work to review their charitable works over the last 12 months, including support for migrants, asylum seeker and IDPs. The Order operates in a related series of support, from care for those in countries affected by wars, civil conflict, natural disasters, to care for refugees along their paths of flight, to their arrival in host countries.
The conference convener, Grand Hospitaller Dominique de La Rochefoucauld-Montbel, Minister of Health and Social Affairs for the Sovereign Order, told the conference that the works of the Order go from strength to strength and that the range of activities undertaken in the many countries where the Order has a presence, reflect the needs in different parts of the world. ‘Put your heart in your fingertips,’ he said, ‘as this is how we must work with those who need our care.’ A current international focus is on work with migrants, an area in which the Order is very active, but that the Order’s projects are of a wide reach – from projects with Europe’s Roma, to help for the elderly, for the handicapped, the homeless and for children in need.
Grand Chancellor Albrecht Boeselager, in warning once again that the migrant problem will not go away for years, stated the need of all affected nations to put policies in place to protect the victims, both for their survival and for their human rights. Ambassador Stefano Ronca told the conference that the Order will present a set of guidelines for humanitarian care at the forthcoming World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul this May.
The Maltese Association had its three-day Lenten spiritual retreat for members, spouses and volunteers, from the 4 to the 6 March at Manresa Retreat House in Victoria, Gozo.
The retreat was in English and expertly guided by Fr Robert Soler SJ. The general theme was:
God’s Mercy made visible in Jesus Christ.
“In order to be capable of Mercy, therefore, we must first of all dispose ourselves to listen to the Word of God. This means rediscovering the value of silence in order to meditate on the Word that comes to us. In this way, it will be possible to contemplate God’s Mercy and adopt it as our lifestyle”. (Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus, 13).
The event started with a procession by the members of the Order from the Chapel of the Annunciation to the Parish Church of Our Lady of Graces.
Apart from the Order’s banner, the ornate banner which had been donated to the Zabbar Parish by Grand Master Chigi in 1951, on the occasion of the coronation of the titular painting (by Alessio Erardi), was also proudly carried in the procession.