In early June the North American Lieutenants gathered for their annual meeting in Baltimore, Maryland. It was the first ever meeting of Lieutenants in the Premier See of the United States.
His Eminence, Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, Grand Master, and Governor General Agostino Borromeo, travelled from Rome to attend the meeting. Vice Governor General Powers, and four members of the Grand Magisterium, attended two days of meetings along with Monsignor John E Kozar, President of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), and Monsignor Robert Stern, President Emeritus of the CNEWA and consultant to the Order.
On Thursday evening, June 2, the Grand Master presided at Vespers in the historic Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Most Reverend William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore, welcomed the group to Baltimore. Following Vespers, a reception was held in the Archbishop’s residence where Archbishop Lori greeted guests and provided details on the history of the first Roman Catholic diocese in the United States.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore was established as a diocese on 6 November 1789, with Father John Carroll as the first Bishop of Baltimore. Baltimore was later established as an Archdiocese in 1808. It is here where the Catholic University of America was founded, the site of the First Synod and Councils of Baltimore, and where Baltimore Catechism was promulgated.
The meetings commenced with the Grand Master giving an opening address in which he emphasized the importance of the annual meeting, and asked that the Lieutenants continue their efforts in renewing the spiritual lives of the Knights and Dames. Governor General Borromeo also addressed the group and provided an update on the hotel, which thus far is entrusted to the Columbus society, and the recent appointment of the Order’s new Chancellor, His Excellency Ambassador Alfredo Bastianelli. Vice Governor General Powers gave a detailed presentation on the finances of the Order.
The two days of meetings included a wide variety of topics ranging from the daily operations of a Lieutenancy, to finances, liturgy, pilgrimages, and candidate formation. Several newly appointed Lieutenants attended and the meeting provided them the opportunity to observe and participate in various discussions.
Professor Thomas McKiernan, President of the Holy Land Commission, gave an update on the construction projects currently underway in the Patriarchate and insight into the planned 2016 programs.
Monsignor John E. Kozar, President of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), having recently returned from the Middle East, provided first-hand insight into the refugee crisis facing Christians in Kurdistan.
On Saturday morning, the Lieutenants and their spouses attended Mass at the historic National Shrine of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, located in downtown Baltimore, where Monsignor Robert L. Stern was the principal celebrant and homilist.
The final day of meetings included discussions about the legacy program, recruitment efforts, microcredit opportunities, the Squires program, and activities planned during the Year of Mercy. The meetings officially concluded on Saturday with an evening dinner honoring the Grand Master.
John Carmen Piunno, member of the Grand Magisterium
(June 23, 2016)