Order of Malta Moment

March 2, 2012

A Personal Reflection on the Order's Humanitarian Diplomacy

To Knights and Dames carrying out essential hands-on work in their communities around the world, the Order's sovereignty and diplomatic network may seem a bit remote -- perhaps even a kind of interesting "relic" of history. In fact, the reality is both more important and more interesting than is commonly known. As one of the Order's part-time, volunteer diplomats, I'd like to share some of my own experiences with fellow members of the Federal Association.

Since 2009 when we established full diplomatic relations with the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, I've been the non-resident Counsellor and deputy head of mission of our new Embassy to this nearby Caribbean country -- the 101st to recognize the Order.

Why did the Bahamas recognize the Order? It may sound like a glamorous place, but away from the resort areas, the Bahamas is far from a rich country. It's also very much in the path of seasonal hurricanes and tropical storms, so the Bahamian government has been very happy to develop a direct link with us, given Malteser International's first-rate emergency relief capabilities.

Our sovereign status means that we are regarded as an independent, impartial entity not tied to any country, giving us state-to-state relations. This not only cuts through much of the red tape that religious and humanitarian organizations typically face, but also means -- crucially -- that help and medical supplies can enter countries quickly and free of customs duties. This is a great privilege that no other body has, not even the Red Cross.

Although the Order's diplomats are unpaid volunteers (and very few of us have been career foreign service officers for our respective countries), the bar is set high in terms of knowing how to represent the Order properly. The Grand Magistry has sensibly provided training sessions for new diplomats in Geneva and Rome. In addition, I regularly find myself consulting one of several key reference books, including Satow's Guide to Diplomatic Practice. Written communications with governments have several precise forms, including the "official note" and "note verbale" -- although there is no substitute for being able to telephone a cabinet minister personally in the event of natural disaster or other crisis. In circumstances which require more experienced diplomatic guidance, the Order has a permanent Diplomatic Commission on call, ably headed by our confrere Ambassador Philippe de Schoutheete -- a retired Belgian career diplomat whose postings have taken him to Paris, Cairo, and Madrid, among other capitals.

Today, the Order has full diplomatic relations with some 104 countries, the highest number in our nearly thousand-year history. In each of these national capitals, we are ready to help, in keeping with a mission that is underpinned by our Catholic faith and bestowed to us by the Blessed Gerard. - Stephen Klimczuk, KGD

Grants Applications Due April 15

Because of the donations to the Annual Appeal, the Federal Association is able to make grants to worthy projects supported by its members. Knights and Dames intending to request a grant for a project or organization that gives direct help to the sick or the poor should submit the Grant Application electronically by April 15. The essential guidelines for these grants are found on the Federal Association's website. Questions concerning the grants and requests for applications should be directed to Leif Carlson in the Association's office (202) 331-2494.

Lourdes Pilgrimage 2012: Nine Weeks Away!

Those preparing for the pilgrimage to Lourdes and those on the spiritual pilgrimage can join together across the Federal Association. As we prepare for the pilgrimage of our blessed malades, may we join in prayer the next nine weeks in preparation of their journey through this Lourdes Novena. - provided by Fra' James-Michael von Stroebel, Subpriory of Our Lady of Lourdes

(This Prayer to be recited each day after the prayer for the day)
O Powerful Virgin, Our Lady of Lourdes, behold me at your feet, beseeching your maternal influence. I come to implore your aid during this novena, with the hope that you will listen favorably to my petition. I supplicate you, O Mother of Jesus, and my Mother, to hear my prayers and to obtain for me the favors (name yours) which I desire. Amen. Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

Nine Weeks Away: Join in the Lourdes Novena

Prayer for the First Week

Our Lady of Lourdes, Immaculate Virgin, pray for us. My trust in your power is unshakable. You can obtain all from your Divine Son. You who kindly accepted to come down to earth to bring us the graces of this same Son, obtain for us the grace to merit them. Hail, Wonder of the Most High, we praise you for your glorious privileges, and joyfully repeat a thousand times: She is Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, who graciously accepted to visit us! Queen of Virgins, pray for us.

The new By-Laws were approved by The Sovereign Council

The new by-laws are now located on the
Federal Association web site. Click here

Spring Retreat
June 16-17, 2012

St Mary's Seminary & University
Click here

Upcoming Events:

Mar 3 - Northern VA - Lenten Morning of Reflection following 8:45am Mass. Confession will be available with Rev. Richard Mullins, Magistral Chaplain, St. Louis Catholic Church. 3019 Popkins Lane, Alexandria, VA
Mar 3 - Baltimore - 8:30AM, First Saturday Mass and Spiritual Discussion at Mission Helpers. Contact: Pat Monaghan
Mar 5 - Charlotte - Room at the Inn at St. Peter’s Catholic Church. Contact: Barbara Laughlin
Mar 9 - Columbus, OH - Mass for the Anointing of the Sick, 6 PM. St. John the Baptist Church. Contact: Charles Mifsud
Mar 10 - Kansas City - Anointing of the Sick Cure of Ars Church, 9 AM with Archbishop Keleher. Contact: Georgia Lynch
Mar 13 - Wash DC - Lenten Evening of Reflection - 6:30 PM - Church of the Annunciation. Mass, followed by soup supper and Lenten reflection by Monsignor John Enzler. Click here for more information.
Mar 13 - Baltimore - Sarah’s Hope 2nd Tuesday Dinner. Contact: Mary Hosford
Mar 18-23, 2012 - New Orleans Home Repair Program work week. Click here for info and sign up.
Mar 20 - Chicago Region - Soup Kitchen at St. Thomas of Canterbury, 4827 N. Kenmore, 4:30PM. Contact: Sam Ciccarelli
Mar 20 - Baltimore - My Sister’s Place Women’s Shelter 3rd Tuesday Dinner. Contact: Margie Counselman
Mar 21 - Northern VA - Defense of the Faith; 8 PM Thomas Peters, The State of Catholic Action. Hosts: Damian and Lina von Stauffenberg, 4530 N. 32nd St., Arlington, VA
Mar 24 - Syracuse - Pancake Breakfast at Assumption Church, Volunteers arrive by 7:30 AM. Contact: John Clark
Mar 24 - Northern VA - Mass for the Anointing of the Sick, 11 AM; Fr. Richard Mullins will be the Celebrant and Homilist. Volunteers are needed; last year the region had approximately 150 Malades attend. Respond to Elizabeth Scheuren or Valencia Camp
Mar 26 - Syracuse - Monthly Malta House Birthday Party at 2:30 PM. Contact: Kathy Mezzalingua
Mar 31 - Wash DC - Second Annual Faith and Service lecture with Rev. Timothy Radcliffe, OP, theologian and former Master General of the Dominican Order. 7 PM Dahlgren Chapel, Georgetown University. A reception will follow. Prior to his talk, Fr. Radcliffe will celebrate the Saturday 5:30 Mass at Holy Trinity Church. Contact: Tom Hughes
Apr 2 - Syracuse - Monthly First Friday Mass and Breakfast at 7AM. Contact: Margaret Martin
Apr 9-14 - New Orleans Home Repair Program work week. Click here for info and sign up.
April 19-20 - Charlotte - Day of Formation for candidate class of 2013 and sponsors. Click here for details.
April 21 - Wash DC - Federal Association Day of Reflection - Washington Theological Union - 9:00 - 2:00. All members and candidates invited.