It has been a full and inspiring weekend at the Biennial Assembly of the Australian Association of the Order of Malta. While this ancient order (founded in 1048) has been in New Zealand for some years it is only in the past year that it has reached Christchurch.
On Saturday, the feast day of the patron of our Christchurch diocese John the Baptist, the Christchurch postulants who have completed their initial time of formation were invested as Knights and Dame of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta. The name is a mouthful, but the mission is clear: defence of the Catholic faith and service of the poor.
The preparation months have been a powerful journey of faith for our Christchurch team Belfiore Bologna, Rob Farrell, Bevan Killick and Abina Pope. I am delighted to have been invested as a Chaplain of the Order.
The Order of Malta is a lay Religious Order, and our Christchurch Knights and Dame now begin a new phase of their baptismal commitment within the church in service of the poor.
The weekend’s assembly of 130 members was a great festival of faith with sound and robust presentations on the reality of poverty in our world, and our own response to the forgotten of our world. The conference theme: “Remembering the Forgotten”.
The greatest inspiration was to be in the company of so many enthusiastic members of the order with growing numbers of young Catholics aged under 50.
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