Dear members of the Order, it is an honour for me to address you as Lieutenant of the Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta.
I feel blessed to have been elected for one year as the sovereign head and religious superior of the Order of Malta, an institution that, – even during the most challenging times in its long history – has never failed to honour its Catholic faith and its core mission to help the sick and those in need.
My dedication to promoting the spiritual dimension of our 900-year-old Order will be relentless and profound. One of my main tasks will be to work to refine our Constitution. Consultations to address institutional issues have already started.
The Order of Malta has grown beyond all expectations in the last decades, in particular under the last two Grand Masters and we are grateful to them for this.
But this growth also comes with much greater responsibility. And therefore we need to amend some of our rules and regulations and strengthen the governance aligning them with current needs, and with the role and dimension of the Order. All these reforms will take place without any change to the charisma and ideals of the Order.
I take this opportunity to affirm, too, my strong commitment and total dedication to advancing and developing the important actions that the Order of Malta carries out – through our many associations, relief and volunteer corps and embassies – in 120 countries, some coping with the effect on local populations of violence, poverty and natural disasters.
We live in era of unrest and uncertainty. Humanitarian emergencies – causing displacement and an ever-increasing number of refugees – are tragically proliferating around us. The demands of those in dire need of food and medical assistance, and social and spiritual support, are increasing and it is our duty to help them.
With deep gratitude, I thank the Order’s members, volunteers, doctors, nurses and rescuers. All around the world, with unremitting passion and dedication, you testify to our hospitaller mission. I ask the interception of our Lady of Philermo and the help of your prayers and your commitment to sustain me during my mandate.
May the Lord watch over you and our beloved Order.