«We are an institution of the Church in which the values of humility, charity and obedience are to be cultivated»

First continental meetings of the Governor General Visconti di Modrone with the Lieutenants of the Order.

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Visconti di Modrone in Argentina

The meeting of Latin American Lieutenants took place in Argentina, in Buenos Aires, following the Investiture presided over by Cardinal Edwin O'Brien, Grand Master. The Governor General Leonardo Visconti di Modrone believes that this continental meeting was decisively important to help raise awareness among the inhabitants of the area towards the cause of the Holy Land. "Latin America is very far from the Middle East and the Order favors a mutual rapprochement, thanks to solidarity for our Christian brothers and sisters in the biblical territories", the Governor emphasized, adding that the South American Lieutenants appreciated being informed as directly as possible about the recent decisions taken by the Grand Magisterium.

"We communicated to the Lieutenants the new direction of our aid, especially with regards training and teaching, since education is the safest means of preparing the ground for a better future. What is really close to our hearts is the 'human building',” reports the Governor General after this trip, alongside the Grand Master.

In Argentina, the visit of the leaders of the Order rekindled interest in the Holy Land, helping local Lieutenancies to emerge from the daily life and projecting them towards the new challenges facing the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The Lieutenants of the mother nations of the South American continent - Spain and Portugal - enriched the meeting with their presence, in a dynamic dialogue between Lusophone and Spanish-speaking countries.

“We are considering the appointment of a Vice Governor General for Latin America, to better coordinate the action of the Lieutenancies, namely Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil”, states the Governor General, announcing that the Order plans to officially settle also in Chile, where many descendants of Christian Palestinian immigrants live. Mexico - which is part of North America - would be placed under the responsibility of the new Vice Governor for Ibero-America, especially for a reason of linguistic consistency.

All the initiatives of the Order and this project were presented in prayer, especially in front of the statue of Christ the Redeemer, in Rio de Janeiro, where the leaders of the Order later went. The Governor General also met the Archbishop of Rio - Grand Prior of the Lieutenancy - and the clergy committed to spiritually accompanying the members of the two current Lieutenancies of the Order in Brazil.

A few weeks later, alongside the Grand Master, the Governor General was in Toronto for the meeting of the Lieutenants of North America, where he took part for the first time. "I found time to listen to each one personally and I wanted to thank them for the considerable effort offered to our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land," he noted, paying special tribute to the action of Vice Governor Patrick Powers.

Interest in the Holy Land is very strong in the United States and Canada, manifested by immense generosity. Many people who have succeeded overseas from an economic point of view donate to the populations in difficulty, supported in this action by a favorable legislative framework.

The third major and important meeting last spring was the meeting with the European Lieutenants whom the Governor General already knew in some ways, having attended various Investitures since his entry into office a year ago.

"Contrary to what is experienced in North or South America, where there is a certain cultural homogeneity, the question of the diversity of languages ​​and cultures remains a problem in Europe, although the historical link with the Holy Land is very ancient and aggregating”, he observed.

“I try to promote unity within the Order and at the same time freedom of initiative on a local level; these intercontinental meetings have also had the purpose of preparing the Consulta - which will take place in November in Rome - on the theme of the Lieutenant's mission," concluded the Governor General Visconti di Modrone, who has already suggested some appointments decided by the Grand Master, trying to valorize competent personalities, rooted in their dioceses, endowed with a spirit of service and capable of fostering unity at all levels.

"The Order will never be an NGO, we are an institution of the Church in which the values of humility, charity, and obedience are to be cultivated", he affirmed firmly. The action of the Order in this sense is increasingly oriented towards service to the human person, essentially through works of education in dialogue and coexistence, which constitute a great guarantee for long-term peace in the Holy Land and in the Middle East.


(Summer 2018)