Historic visit to the Holy Land
1400 pilgrims, members of the Order from around the world and representing 20 countries, made a 5 day visit to the Holy Land in early October. The members of the Sovereign Council, Cardinal Pio Laghi, Cardinal Patronus, and the Prelate of the Order, Monsignor Angelo Acerbi led the international congregation in prayer over the historic five days.
In his message to the pilgrims, the Grand Master said. ‘Jerusalem, central to our Christian faith, has also a special significance for us here where Blessed Gerard founded our Order over 900 years ago. It is here that the selfless example shown by him and his community of knights, by their work in the hospital of St.John of Jerusalem, inspired our mission: tuitio fidei, obsequium pauperum. And today, again, we are proud to have a hospital in this region our Holy Family Hospital in Bethlehem.
Pilgrimages have always been a focus of our Order, offering to all who participate the handicapped, the pilgrims, the volunteers, the helpers a spiritual fulfillment like no other.’ As well as seeing the Holy Places, an important item in the itinerary was a visit to the Order’s Holy Family maternity hospital in Bethlehem, where, despite the problems in the region 40,000 infants have been born since 1990.