His Holiness Pope John Paul II received in audience at the Vatican the Prince and Grand Master of the Order, Fra’ Andrew Bertie, accompanied by the Senior Officials of the Order, on the occasion of the feast day of St.John the Baptist, patron saint of the Order. The Pope once again paid tribute to the Order’s charitable activities the world over.
Following the audience, the Order’s delegation was received by the Secretary of State, His Eminence Cardinal Sodano.
Earlier in the morning His Eminence Cardinal Pio Laghi and the Cardinalis Patronus of the Order celebrated mass at the Order’s Chapel on the Aventine Hill, in the presence of Grand Master, members of the Sovereign Council and ambassadors accredited to the Order of Malta.
The celebrations in honour of the Order’s patron Saint was concluded in the Magliana at the Hospital of St.John the Baptist. The hospital, run by the Italian Association of the Order of Malta, also hosted a mass for the sick. Concluding the celebrations, His Eminence Cardinal Pio Laghi blessed the hospital’s new pavilion.