Under the chairmanship of the Cardinal Grand Master, all the highest offices of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre (the Grand Magisterium with the Lieutenants and Magistral Delegates) together with a representative of the Secretariat of State and one from the Congregation for Eastern Churches meet every four years to discuss and reflect on common themes concerning the life of the Order in all its peripheral structures. The 2023 Consulta will take place in Rome from November 6 to 10, 2023.
Due to COVID, five years have passed since the previous Consulta 2018, which focused on "The role of the Lieutenant in the mission of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem". This year - which will exceptionally include the participation of the Grand Priors of the Order at the direct invitation of Grand Master Cardinal Fernando Filoni, - the theme will focus on formation.
An Instrumentum Laboris has been forwarded to the participants to allow them to enter into the theme, also involving Knights and Dames in a broader context to foster their contribution to the reflection.
The Consulta is the Grand Master's main consultative body in a synodal spirit and, as we read in the Constitution, "is not a deliberative body but its proposals form a part of the decision-making process relating to the most important issues concerning the Order" (art. 17.1). Following this meeting and exchange, the Grand Master will draft a final document that will define the guidelines for the coming years.
The collaboration between the lay and ecclesiastical components of our Pontifical Institution can be clearly felt in the organisation and management of working sessions where both lay (Lieutenants and Magistral Delegates) and ecclesiastics (Grand Priors) leaders of the Order's more than 60 peripheral structures will be present for the first time. Furthermore, as the Constitution details, we recall that while it is the Cardinal Grand Master who convenes the Consulta, approves the agenda proposed by the Presidency of the Grand Magisterium and presides over its plenary meetings, it is the Governor General who moderates its meetings (art. 17.4) in a spirit of communion. Personal meetings of the Grand Master, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, and the Governor General, Ambassador Leonardo Visconti di Modrone, with the various Lieutenants and linguistic working groups are planned to enable the Order's local leaders from geographically and linguistically similar areas to meet and work on the proposed theme.
Clearly the Consulta is lived in deep union of prayer with the Mother Church of the Holy Land, which is the focus of our commitment and attention as Knights and Dames of the Holy Sepulchre. And it will be a joy to have with us His Beatitude Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Patriarch of Jerusalem and our Grand Prior, just a few weeks after receiving the cardinal's biretta on 30 September from the hands of Pope Francis.