Investiture Weekend Welcomes New Members

In an unprecedented celebration over the weekend of October 15-16, 58 new members from the Class of 2021 were invested into the Federal Association. While regional Investitures were previously held to celebrate the Class of 2020, many individuals among the 65 new members in that group also received special blessings and recognition during this Investiture Weekend as well.

While the pandemic and COVID restrictions forced modifications in our traditional gatherings and approach to events, including a late venue change for the Annual Gala Reception and Dinner, genuine joy permeated the weekend’s events. Guests relished seeing old friends, spending time together and celebrating our new members. 

The weekend commenced with a rehearsal Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, DC. Following the Annual Members Meeting later that afternoon, George Weigel, a Senior Fellow of Washington’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, delivered the Defense of the Faith address. On Friday evening, several regions held informal events and gatherings, including a dinner for younger members connected to the Auxiliary.

On Saturday morning at St Matthew’s, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, archbishop of Washington, Bailiff Grand Cross Order of Malta and conventual chaplain ad honorem, celebrated the Investiture Mass and Ceremony. Once again, under the direction of Msgr. James D. Watkins, ecclesiastical master of ceremonies and conventual chaplain ad honorem, the Solemn Liturgy of Investiture reflected a moving spiritual celebration.  

The new members promised to faithfully call on the name of God, always bear witness to the Catholic faith and lead their lives in accordance with the teachings of the Church. They declared themselves ready to care for our lords the sick and poor, and to obey the Constitution, statutes and Rule of the Order with fidelity and diligence.  

Melanie Colley, DM, a newly invested dame who became a Catholic in 2009 and joined the Auxiliary with her husband in 2010, shared this afterward: “Over the past decade I have discerned that I wanted the Order of Malta to be my spiritual home. The community of holy men and women have helped to deepen my faith, and the service, especially the pilgrimages to Lourdes, have drawn me closer to Jesus and the Blessed Mother. Investiture was an absolutely beautiful weekend, and I am so grateful I was able to share it with my husband and parents there to support me and celebrate alongside me. I look forward to a lifetime of service and growing in faith with all those who share this spiritual home with me.”

Later, on Saturday evening, at the National Building Museum, nearly 400 guests enjoyed the weekend’s culminating event, the white-tie Gala Reception and Annual Dinner. The celebrations continued in welcoming the newly invested dames and knights from the Classes of 2020 and 2021, and recognizing the accomplishments from the past year.   

The evening’s highlights included the distribution of the Pro Merito Awards given to Edward Damich, KM; Barbara Laughlin, DM; Barbara Patocka, DM; and Richard Wood, KM. These awards are given in appreciation for sustained and extraordinary work in the Order over many years. 

In addition, President’s Awards were presented to Brock Akers, KM and Michael Denton, KM, along with the Pro Piis Award to Msgr. Michael Boland, magistral chaplain. Hugh M. Dempsey, GCMOb received the Grand Cross of Magistral Grace in Obedience from the Subpriory of Our Lady of Lourdes of the Order of Malta.

Domenico Musso, KM, a member of the Class of 2021, stated: “To me, joining the Order of Malta means having the opportunity to serve the poor and the sick alongside people who have become my ‘family’ and with whom I share faith and values, which gives my life deeper purpose and encourages me to share Christ’s love through our works. The Investiture Weekend was very emotional, and was made even more special because I was surrounded by people whom I love and admire. I was very impressed and I am grateful to the organizers for an amazing weekend, and I will cherish this beautiful memory forever.”

The Investiture Committee would like to recognize the dedication and partnership of so many individuals who helped make this weekend a success. 

A tremendous thank-you to all of the participating clergy, volunteers, team members and staff, including  Jeffrey Ludwig, KM, and Christopher Murphy, KM, for the beautiful Investiture Mass and Ceremony; Hugh Dempsey, GCMOb for his work on the Gala Reception and Annual Dinner;  Morgan Baker, Development, Stewardship & Communications coordinator and Annalice Mollica, program coordinator, for their close attention to all logistics and details; Deacon Michael Stankewicz for his continual collaboration and guidance; and Fra’ Thomas N. Mulligan for his leadership and support.