A group photo during the first regional meeting of Lieutenancies of Asia and Oceania, organized by the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in Adelaide, Australia, in the month of October 2015.
On 17 and 18 October, 2015, Adelaide hosted the first meeting of the Lieutenancies of Asia and Oceania which was also attended by Cardinal Edwin O’Brien, the Grand Master, and Agostino Borromeo, the Governor General.
Since 2004 there had not been a meeting organized between the five Lieutenancies of the Order in Australia. Paul Bartley, an Australian member of the Grand Magisterium, who was in Rome for the meeting of the Grand Magisterium in November, commented on the event during an interview he granted us.
Compared to other regional meetings that currently take place for the Lieutenancies of Europe and America, the October meeting saw the participation of not only the Lieutenants but also of other members of the Order engaged in various responsibilities within the local councils (chancellors, treasurers, secretaries and masters of ceremonies). “It definitely provided the Grand Master and the Governor General with a different point of view compared to the other meetings of this type,” commented Paul Bartley.
One of the most appreciated moments of the two days in Australia was that of the session on the Order’s spirituality. François Kunc, Supreme Court Justice, had prepared a discussion which involved all participants. Another key moment was the meeting between the Lieutenants, Paul Bartley vested as a member of the Grand Magisterium, the Governor General and the Grand Master.
Paul Bartley wished to especially emphasize the work that is still to be done and the things that need improvement. Therefore, as a result, it became evident that the various Lieutenancies do not follow a common line and that not everyone knows about the documents produced by headquarters. On this point, the member of the Grand Magisterium affirms: “I absolutely do not believe that the Lieutenancies deliberately act inappropriately, but that we have gradually been detached from the rules without people realizing. That being said, as a knightly order, the rules are important and we should work to have a certain conformity.”
Every Lieutenancy, as has been reported, is very active on various fronts, with charitable activity and spiritual commitment in first place, and this is a great source of joy and inspiration for the Order throughout the whole world. A greater cooperation and sharing among Lieutenancies of the region will certainly bring great results in the future.
Another emphasized point was that of the formation of Lieutenants. The formation of new Knights and Dames was addressed, and the proposal was advanced for evaluating the possibility of also organizing a course for new Lieutenants.
The meeting in October brought forth various resolutions and above all the desire to meet more frequently. First of all, a telephone appointment was scheduled for the Australian Lieutenants, which took place on December 6, and the idea is that this might be repeated every six months. In addition, the importance of meeting in person and the great opportunity of counting on the presence of the Grand Master and the Governor General has become apparent. Australia, Bartley commented with a smile, is isolated to the point that it is always safe from any contagion of infection that affects the rest of the world, but this also means that reaching the country is not so simple, neither for the Lieutenants of Asia, nor for those coming from Europe. Therefore, the proposal which may be suitable would be to meet in Singapore on a weekend in 2016.
Paul Bartley concluded his interview by saying: “When we speak of the Order, it is not about honours and titles. We are not here for the glory of any one of us.”
(December 1, 2016)