The Lieutenant of the Grand Master Fra’ Marco Luzzago replies to Pope Francis’ message for the 54th World Day of Peace on 1st January 2021
As the Order of Malta’s newly elected Lieutenant of the Grand Master, I want to offer my heartfelt thanks, and that of all who belong to the Order or who work as volunteers in its humanitarian activities, for having so clearly indicated “the ‘rudder’ of human dignity and the ‘compass’ of fundamental social principles”.
For us, your Holiness’s message for the celebration of the 54th World Day of Peace is a summons to intensify our Christian solidarity, following our centuries-old tradition based on the theological virtues that generate love for God and our neighbour, in the spirit of service, courage, solidarity and sacrifice for the good of all.
We are well aware that fidelity to our charism will only be possible if we live our spirituality with loyalty and tenacity, as a response to a gift received and a vocation of which we feel the responsibility. In the coming months, it is only in the spirit of the most sincere and total dedication to Christ and the Church that we will achieve the reform of the Constitution and the Code, thanks also to the closeness of His Eminence Cardinal Silvano Tomasi, who Your Holiness has chosen as your Special Delegate for the Order of Malta.
With assiduous prayer and perseverance in these difficult times caused by the pandemic, I trust we will be able to perform effectively our mission in the world by helping all those who need us – the sick, the poor and the oppressed.
In anticipation of Your Holiness’s apostolic mission in March in our tormented Iraq and in the spirit of your noble message for the World Day of Peace, I would like to point out the “Return to Nineveh” programme in Iraq hosted by Malteser International (Order of Malta’s International Relief Agency). The aim is to help families displaced by the war return to their villages and towns by building houses and schools and promoting opportunities for employment and social cohesion between groups of different ethnic groups and religions. The intention is to encourage dialogue, overcoming prejudices heightened by years of war and by the great tensions in the country. A simple gesture from Your Holiness would be an encouragement and a unique and rare motivation for those who are now engaged in the Nineveh Plains, and be assured of my prayer and that of the Order to accompany the Vicar of Christ in a place where some of the oldest Christian Churches have flourished.
In pledging our human and spiritual adherence to Your Holiness’ message, I express on behalf of all the Order of St John our sentiments of deepest and filial devotion.”