On May 16-18 in Buenos Aires, Cardinal Edwin O'Brien, Grand Master, and Leonardo Visconti di Modrone, Governor General of the Order, held the first meeting of the Lieutenants for South America, Spain and Portugal, which was attended by the following Lieutenants: Juan Francisco C. Ramos Mejía of Argentina, Enric Mas of Eastern Spain, María Adriana Mayol Abondano de Rojas of Colombia, Nuno M. G. R. M. de Bragança van Uden of Portugal, José Carlos Sanjuan y Monforte of Western Spain, Manuel R. Tavares de Almeida Filho of Brazil Sao-Paulo, and Isis T. Cunha Penido of Brazil-Rio de Janeiro. The meeting also provided the occasion to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the founding of the Lieutenancy for Argentina.
“It is my intention to remain as close as possible to the Latin American Lieutenancies, as I endeavour to do for all other Lieutenancies throughout the world”, proclaimed Governor General Visconti di Modrone. “This will enable us to express the unity of the Order, for there is no association of Orders as such. The unity of the Order is also consolidated primarily through these frequent contacts”. Speaking of the action of the Order in the Holy Land, the Governor reported that “at the latest meetings of the Grand Magisterium, and in keeping with the indications of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the decision was made to invest in human resources and indeed to place special emphasis on our educational work in schools rather than on building projects. We are at present convinced that the best possible investment in these lands consists in educating young generations, who, if they are raised with the values of dialogue and tolerance that we hold dear, may grow up in a better world, even if theirs is not the same faith as our own”.
During the meeting, the participants discussed the requisite characteristics of candidates as well as the procedure for entering the Order. They then deliberated the topic of neophytes, who undergo a training period after which candidates confirm whether they wish to remain. This time also serves to provide the Lieutenancy with sufficient information to assess the individual candidacies.
The maximum age at which functions may be carried out within the Order was also examined, giving rise to reflection on the importance of involving young people and on how the path of members within the Order may be further improved.
The Grand Master congratulated those in attendance and thanked them for the invitation to preside over activities associated with the celebration of the Lieutenancy’s 130 years of existence in the country, and he asked all members of the Order to familiarise themselves with Gaudete et Exsultate, the apostolic exhortation of the Pope on the call to personal holiness. The Lieutenants were also asked to ensure that this document is read by candidates.
All attendees of the meeting then withdrew to the Church of the Mater Admirabilis for Holy Mass, which was celebrated by the Cardinal Grand Master. After the Mass, a working lunch was held at the Jockey Club throughout which the questions outlined at the meeting were discussed in greater detail.
During the afternoon, the assembly examined the topics of communication and promotions, and the possibility was mooted of creating a post of Vice-Governor General for Ibero-America within the Grand Magisterium. At the end of the meeting, a unanimous decision was made to continue to organise such meetings every two years and during the year of the Consulta. To favour the growth and development of the Latin American Lieutenancies it was decided to organise these meetings in South America with the participation of Spain and Portugal. The next meeting will be held in November 2020 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
On Friday 18 May, Cardinal O'Brien presided over the ceremony for the Investiture of new Knights and Dames. The Grand Master concluded his homily as follows: “My brothers and sisters of the Holy Sepulchre, especially those of you just invested, you are disciples pursuing sainthood in the midst of your family, living out your occupation and enjoying recreation, offering yourselves in everything you do, everything you are, in imitation of Jesus.”