GOVERNOR GENERAL’S SPEECH
“We are moving forward with determination”
Your Eminence, Excellencies, dear brothers and sisters, unfortunately, the ongoing health emergency has forced us once again to organize the meeting of the Grand Magisterium with a different formula from our usual one.
In recent months the Cardinal Grand Master has told me more than once how he was eagerly waiting for this appointment to enjoy a broad discussion in order to establish the strategic guidelines for the coming years.
Providence has decided otherwise, but we must not allow ourselves to be affected by adverse circumstances: on the contrary, we must intensify our efforts to reach our goals.
With this in mind, I would like to begin my report on an optimistic note: three years ago, when I was appointed Governor General, four problematic topics filled the agenda of the Grand Magisterium meetings, with discussions, sometimes lively, sometimes frankly disheartening:
- the debt contracted by the Patriarchate because of the University of Madaba;
- the stalemate in obtaining the approval of the new Statute;
- the never ending legal dispute with the tenant of Palazzo della Rovere;
- the painful split within the Lieutenancy of France.
Today all these problems have found a solution. Now we can turn our attention to the future rather than to the past.
The major issues on the table for the future are: first of all, obviously, how to overcome the effects of Coronavirus, an unexpected variable that has upended our lives and our plans, but has also allowed us to discover a generosity above all of our expectations.
The appeal addressed by the Cardinal Grand Master to the members of the Order has resulted in the collection of three million euros for emergency humanitarian aid linked to the pandemic in the Holy Land.
The generosity was such that, paradoxically, it has resulted in some difficulties in collecting resources for ordinary and institutional expenses, since all destinations chosen for the donations by our members were aimed at the Coronavirus emergency!
A gradual rebalancing is now necessary, also to avoid making a massive recourse to the statutory reserves.
A second element that has characterized these last months is the strong impulse given by the Cardinal Grand Master to the promotion of spirituality in the Order, through the publication of a booklet that will soon be distributed to all the Lieutenancies and which will give a solid reference to what it means to belong to the Order and to the commitments such a decision entails.
His Eminence made a similar effort on the communication front, not only through the media but also through a direct dialogue with the faithful, launching “The Grand Master's Corner" a new column in our website.
A third element that must be mentioned is the great renovation of Palazzo della Rovere to restore the dignity deserved by the seat of the Order and to start a new season of hotel hospitality in the future, hopefully more successful than the previous one.
The rules introduced by the Holy See in the last weeks with the New Procurement Code have determined a pause in the schedule of works to allow appropriate investigations with the Vatican authorities on the procedures applied.
But we are moving forward with determination on the path we have traced and soon we are expecting to start renovation.
I cannot fail to mention also the ongoing expansion effort of the Order both through the contacts made to assess the potential interest to the establishment of new Magistral Delegations and Lieutenancies, and through an action aimed at fostering greater knowledge of the Order and its charitable work.
Contacts with the Lieutenancies are constant, thanks also to the support of the Vice Governors, whom I want to expressly thank here.
I wish to end these introductory words by reaffirming my total devotion to the Holy Father, my humble obedience to the Grand Master and my firm determination to continue - if requested - to invest my energies in fulfilling my mandate at the service of the Church and of the Holy Land.
Leonardo Visconti di Modrone
(October 22, 2020)