The Sovereign Council, with a decree of 8 and 9 October 1987, gave me the task of organizing a seminar for the Order’s Future Strategies, which was held on 4 December 1988 in Rome.

This seminar prompted a global planning of the Order’s activi­ties worldwide, through a complex but effective process of meetings and studies, the results of which will be presented to the next Ge­neral Chapter.

In this context and with the aim of pinpointing precise strate­gies and definite policies for the Order’s work in view of 2000, the Grand Magistry asked me to organize the First Latin-American Meeting of the Order’s bodies, to discuss the strategies to be adopted in the geographical area of the Americas, so dear to His Most Eminent Highness, Era’ Andrew Bertie.

I have faithfully carried out this task, and I thank His High­ness and the members of the Sovereign Council for the confidence they have shown me. In presenting the proceedings of the meeting, I want to stress that the pinpointing of strategies assumes a con­tinuity of action, and thus a commitment from all our members in the areas involved as regards implementing the programmes, in­dicating people, fixing times, defining resources and training managerial cadres.

I thus consider it appropriate, convinced, as I am that the First Latin-American Meeting will be followed by a second one, to indi­cate three important topics:

I) Spirituality

A spirituality, which also takes into, accounts the lay character of the Order’s structures in America. The spirituality of the professed members of the Order is well known; the search for spiritual guidelines for the non-professed is a commitment that cannot be deferred and must be pursued with intellectual ho­nesty, without delay and in full and total support of the Second Vatican Council; the tuitio fidei with regards to the growing phenomenon of religious deviation in this geographical area.

II) Training of managerial cadres

Managerial cadres who can and must come from the ranks of the Order, because only those who have desired, endured and experienced St. John’s religious commitment can have the inner resources for authentically and disinterestedly serving the Maltese institution. Only they can recognize that vocation which is expressed through personal sacrifice, dedication to its charitable works, and through mission as the way towards sanctification.

III) Coordination of resources

To he achieved by creating a centre for coordinating and sor­ting all the aid going to Latin America, ensuring its equal di­stribution over the territory, to promote the harmonious deve­lopment of activities in each national association; participation of the Latin-American Organizations of the Order in Interna­tional Agencies.

In recommending this for the future, I would like to thank all those who have helped my work as coordinator of the First Latin-American Meeting, and in particular the Minister Plenipotentiary, Comm. Fra’ José-Antonio Linati-Bosch, who has shared with me the task of contacting all the members interested in the initiative, and H.E. Amb. Dino Samaja, President of the Association of Sao Paolo and Southern Brazil, who offered to hold the meeting in the "Cruz de Malta." Welfare Centre. I would also like to thank all those who, with their presence and correspondence, have enabled and encouraged the meeting and the publication of these proceed­ings which represent a milestone in the debate on the Order’s future activities in Latin America.

Last but not least, I am especially grateful to Mr. Francesco Rosato of the Grand Magistry’s Communications Secretariat for having patiently and assiduously assessed me in the necessary tech­nical operations, and who has steadfastly resolved all the difficulties involved in the publication of this document.

May the Holy Virgin of Filermo, may St. John the Baptist and may our Founder, Blessed Gerard, and all the saints of the Order bless the future of Latin America and show us the objectives and means for achieving the institutional aims of our Order with humility and dedication. The same humility and dedication which ani­mated our Prince and Grand Master in his recent journey to South America, soon to be followed by another to central America, thus amply demonstrating the Order’s commitment towards this very noble and very Christian area, which will soon he celebrating the 5th centenary of its evangelisation. And it is precisely here that all of us, as members of the Order of Malta, have a great opportunity to serve in alleviating the suffering of the martyred body of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Rome, Magistral Palace, 13 July 1991