The annual North American Lieutenants meeting took place in Houston (Texas) from May 30th to June 2nd led by the Grand Master of the Order, Cardinal Edwin O'Brien. The Governor General Ambassador Leonardo Visconti di Modrone, Vice Governor General Thomas Pogge and fourteen Lieutenants (10 US, 3 Canadians and one Mexican) took part. The annual encounter is a significant moment in the life of the Order since the North American component constitutes 51% of its members and contributes 41% to the resources collected globally.
In a new addition to the agenda, the opening session of the first day was dedicated exclusively to the themes of spirituality, with the Lieutenants’ spouses also invited to take part in an effort to emphasize the familial dimension of the Order’s commitment. In his opening address, the Cardinal Grand Master gave a profound reflection on the various spiritual themes, which were later taken up by Rev. Father Scott Traynor.
The remaining sessions addressed the different aspects of the Order's activities, previously outlined in the introductory report presented of the Governor General. This report highlighted the collegiality that currently prevails within the Grand Magisterium, thanks to the creation of Consultative Commissions that support the Governor General in the areas of economic management, spirituality, protocol reviews and disciplinary and legal matters. The subsequent discussions paid particular attention to financial management, administration and communications.
On the second day of the meeting, there was an extensive presentation by the Holy Land Commission on the situation of the projects started by the Grand Magisterium at the recommendation of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) President Msgr. John Kozar also participated in the debate. On the sidelines of the meetings, the Governor General had a series of in-depth bilateral talks with each Lieutenant, in particular, Mrs. Margareth Romano, who will take up office in September as Lieutenant for USA Western.
An extremely constructive atmosphere characterized the meeting, reflecting the agenda’s ability to perfectly balance spiritual themes and updates on the Order's activities. The harmony between the North American Lieutenancies and the Grand Magisterium Presidency was further underscored by the shared awareness of existing problems in the Holy Land and the need for a profound commitment to charity and prayer in endeavors to resolve them.
The group bid a fond farewell to Mexican Lieutenant Gustavo Rincon whose Lieutenancy from the July 1 will be part of the Iberian-American region. The Governor General has announced his visit to Mexico to meet his designated successor.
The Lieutenant for USA Southwestern Tom Standish curated the faultless organization of the event. The celebration of Holy Mass in the Sacred Heart Cathedral concluded the meeting. This was followed by a dinner with the participation of Cardinal DiNardo, Grand Prior of the local Lieutenancy and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The North American Lieutenants then agreed to hold their next meeting on June 4-6, 2020 in Los Angeles.