Meeting of Italian-speaking Lieutenants in Sassari, on the occasion of the Investiture organised by the Lieutenancy for Sardinia
On the occasion of the Investiture of 23 new Knights and Dames for the Lieutenancy of Sardinia, on 29 April 2023, the Governor General, Ambassador Leonardo Visconti di Modrone, organised a meeting with all the Italian-speaking Lieutenancies joined by those for Malta and Switzerland. On the eve of the Investiture, in the premises of the diocesan seminary in Sassari, the Governor General reported to the Lieutenants on the preparations for the Consulta next November, to which the Grand Priors are exceptionally invited, in order to further improve relations between the Order's lay and ecclesiastical components.
The Governor General returned to the Grand Master's important text on the ecclesiological significance of support for the Holy Land (published in the Order's annual magazine), insisting that it be circulated by the Lieutenants to priests and bishops, so that the Knights and Dames' commitment to the Mother Church of Jerusalem can be better understood, without prejudice to the local Churches into which they are inserted.
After also talking about the Grand Magisterium's efforts in the field of communications and external relations, the Governor General reported on the progress of the drafting of the General Regulations - a reflection of the Order's Statute - hoping that it will be ready before the summer and can be sent to the Lieutenants in view of the Consultation.
He then spoke of the contract signed on 10 March with a hotel company, for the rental of part of Palazzo della Rovere for 30 years (a contract that can be revised every six years): this partnership will enable the Grand Magisterium to cover all the running costs of the Grand Magisterium, as well as the costs for the restoration and maintenance of the historic building, allowing donations from the Lieutenancies to be entirely donated to pastoral and humanitarian projects in the Holy Land. The controversy stirred up by some interests opposed to this agreement has been quelled thanks to transparent communication through the media, with the constant support of the Holy See's control bodies, the Governor General pointed out.
He also announced the good news of the Order's expansion through the forthcoming creation of a Magisterial Delegation in Santo Domingo and Slovakia, and promising contacts in Africa.
The exchange with the Lieutenants, attended by the Vice-Governor for Europe Jean-Pierre de Glutz, then focused on the issue of translating the Rules and the importance of choosing the right terms in a language that is clear and understandable to all. The Lieutenants also raised the issue of their responsibility towards members whose behaviour is not consistent with their knightly promises, asking to be able to exercise their mission of discernment with authority, in the name of the principle of subsidiarity.
The Governor General recalled that the authority of the Lieutenant General is not questioned, since it is he who knows best the local realities and the effects of situations on the general atmosphere of the Lieutenancy.
The day continued with a meeting with Cardinal Filoni, Grand Master, the Lieutenants and members of the Lieutenancy for Sardinia, in a spacious hall of the Seminary. Here, after the words of welcome from Lieutenant Marco Cantori and the Governor General, the Grand Master proposed a meditation from his book on the spirituality of the Order, insisting on the need to have the land of Jesus at heart, and then answered the questions of the Knights and Dames, inviting them to bear witness to the magnificent vocation to which they have been called.
He emphasised that the only crusade worthwhile in the eyes of God, is the one conducted with humility and simplicity by St Francis of Assisi when he met the Sultan, a model of behaviour for all members of the Order even today.
The Investiture Vigil that same evening and then the Investiture Ceremony the following day, in Sassari Cathedral, brought together some 300 people in a familiar and fraternal atmosphere, demonstrating, if need be, how much a small Lieutenancy can promote unity and good relations between all the Lieutenancies through the "attraction of the heart", which is worth more than all the great means imaginable.
At the end of the ceremonies, the Governor General announced the promotion of the Lieutenant General for Sardinia to the rank of Knight of the Grand Cross, news that was greeted with great joy as proof of the respectful affection he enjoys.