The new Vice Governor General for America, Professor Thomas Pogge (right) along with his predecessor Patrick Powers, before the audience with Pope Francis.
The five-year Consulta assembly has certainly been an opportunity for participants not only to meet the Grand Master and all the members of the Grand Magisterium, but also to get to know each other better and to reflect and share their thoughts first hand on the theme chosen for the meeting: the role of the Lieutenant.
Agnes Sheehan is Lieutenant for Australia Victoria and took office only a few weeks before the Roman appointment. She confides, “As the name suggests, our meeting aims to consult the entire leadership of the Order. Being a new Lieutenant the theme chosen for the Consulta was very interesting for me. I learned a lot from the sessions, working groups and, in particular, from sharing with other Lieutenants.”
Nuno de Bragança van Uden, Lieutenant for Portugal since 2105, underlined the importance of this meeting for the next choices of the Order: “the Consulta allows us to exchange ideas. There can be different problems but also many common issues and together we can look for new shared solutions.“ Reflecting on the personal relationships that have been established, de Bragança van Uden comments: “the Order has everything to gain from the interactions between Lieutenants, even on a personal level. Perhaps you can discover that what one Lieutenant is doing in a certain Lieutenancy could also be useful in your own.”
The Northern USA Lieutenant of Honor, Thomas Pogge, recalled the possibility that the 16 North American Lieutenancies have to meet each year. “But here we have had the opportunity to meet and greet the Lieutenants from all over the world and discover that we have the same devotion and that we all try to progress in our spiritual life.”
On the first evening of the Consulta, the participants of the meeting were invited by the Grand Master, Cardinal Edwin O’Brien to the debut performance of the sacred Oratory ExsulteT, especially created for this occasion. “It was really amazing!” says Andreas Leiner, Lieutenant for Austria, thanking the Grand Magisterium for the warm welcome and family atmosphere that pervaded every moment of the four intense days of work.
Looking forward and thinking about returning home, Gustavo José Guadalupe Rincón Hernández of Mexico said with a smile: “I will return to Mexico with new strength to continue the mission entrusted to us.. Sheehan from Australia Victoria echoed these sentiments: “We have the blessing of having 30,000 members and for us Lieutenants it is important to return to them, share what we learned during the Consulta and continue our mission to support people, especially Christians in the Holy Land.”