The Order’s pilgrimage to Assisi
On the day in which the Church celebrates the brith of the Virgin Mary, hundreds of the Order of Malta’s members from all over Italy participated with Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing in the traditional pilgrimage to the basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi.
As customary, the celebrations for 8 September started with the solemn procession in the patriarchal basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, where the Order’s pro-patron, Archbishop Paolo Sardi, concelebrated the mass with the Prelate Mgr. Angelo Acerbi and numerous chaplains. Awaited for centuries, the birth of Mary represented a decisive moment in the history of humanity, Archbishop Sardi recalled during his homily. He referred to the Virgin as a model of holiness from which to draw inspiration, and recalled that the universal call to holiness decreed by Vatican Council II concerns all the faithful, whatever their age or condition of life. What does holiness consist in? Goodness of heart and doing God’s will: this is the lesson of the Madonna, the archbishop asserted. In the year in which the Church is celebrating the eighth centenary of the first rule of the Franciscan Order, it has indicated St. Francis as an example to follow. After mass, the Order’s Grand Master and members gathered in prayer before the icon of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Philermos, patron saint of the Order of Malta since its time on Rhodes.
XV Encounter of Melitensi Study Centre
The afternoon conference given in the Castello di Magione by the historian Stefano Brufani, lecturer in Franciscan Studies at the University of Perugia, also dwelt on the 800 years since the approval of the first rule of St. Francis. During the meeting, promoted by the president of the Melitensi Study Centre, Paolo Caucci von Saucken, currently celebrating its 15th year, Brufani recalled the history of the Franciscan Order and the many elements of similarity with the Order of St. John. Both, he pointed out, were founded as religious orders consisting of lay members, both made homage to the poor and needy the core value of their spirituality, both used the category of fraternity , from which the title fratres and later Fra’ derives, to characterise their religious community. Also attending the meeting was the head of the Umbria Monuments and Fine Arts Office, Vittoria Garibaldi, who talked about the restoration of the frescoes in the Castello di Magione chapel.