SPEECH GIVEN AT ANNUAL DINNER IN NEW YORK
15 January 1999
Most Reverend Eminencies, Excellencies, dear Dames and Confréres,
It is a great pleasure for me to attend the Annual Dinner of the American Association in my capacity as Grand Chancellor of the Order and to have the possibility to address such a competent audience.
My visit to your Association, my taking part in this solemn investiture and my greetings which are also directed to the Presidents and representatives of our Order gathered here from various parts of the world and to the two sister-Associations in the United States, acquire a particular significance. This is not only due to the fact of the presence of the Grand Chancellor of the Order at one of the most solemn acts in the life of a Knight, but it is also an expression of deep gratitude for the activity of the United States Associations, and particularly your own, in offering a substantial contribution to the Order’s work of assistance in developing countries, especially in Latin America.
During all these years, the American Association has constantly given proof of its service by contributing to the financing of relief shipment in favour of populations in need. Moreover, on the occasion of the recent visit to Cuba of His Most Eminent Highness, the Prince and Grand Master, it was possible to take there relief materials amounting to 8 million dollars thanks to the generous contribution of the United States Associations and the efforts of our Ambassador in Cuba, whom I wish to thank once again. This is the evidence of the good co-operation existing between the Order’s organisations and the Grand Magistry.
The members of the American Association, who are more than 2500, are fully conscious of the important role played today by the Knights of Malta and have recently shown this by attending in great numbers the world gathering held in
Malta for the opening of the celebrations of the Order’s 900th anniversary. The American Association has decided to solemnise this anniversary in a very special way, and this is the first manifestation that an Association of the Order has organised in honour of this event since the official opening of our Jubilee year.
This important gathering tonight also offers me the opportunity to give you a picture, however concise, of the Order’s growth in its 900th year of life:
- The Associations have increased up to 41;
- The Embassies are 81;
- Postal agreements are now 45;
- Co-operation agreements number 23;
- The Sovereign Order is also represented in several international organisations as an observer, the United Nations Assembly being first and foremost in this group.
It is with great satisfaction that I have seen so much emphasis given in today’s investiture to its religious side. This is a fundamental aspect of our Order; and I do hereby express the hope that this new millennium which now opens will see, not only praiseworthy activity in aid of suffering, but also more importance given to the Order’s religious character and an increase in vocations. From a political point of view, on the other hand, this ceremony has also given the opportunity to hold two other important meetings in New York: one concerning the Coordination Centre in Miami and the other attended by the American members chosen to participate in the forthcoming Chapter General. As to the meeting on the Coordination Centre I take the liberty to urge the American, the Federal and the Western Associations to consider the opportunity to continue to back it up in the future.
This is extremely important with respect to the policy of the Grand Hospitaller, who was also here today and whom I thank for having honoured with his presence the meeting summoned by those in charge of the Centre.
What better way to conclude these remarks about the life of our Order than to offer warmest wishes for the well-being of this large part of the Order’s family here assembled and for the success of the Order in the third millennium.
Please accept my sincere thanks for your cordial welcome and my best wishes for the future activities of the American Association. The toughest thing about success is that you’ve got to keep on being a success. I am confident that your activities will increase in the forthcoming millennium, thanks to the enthusiasm and vitality, which you are blessed with. Of course, I take this opportunity to wish all the best also to the Presidents of the Associations and the representatives of the Order’s bodies who have attended this important reception. Their support and presence has enabled us to truly enjoy this day. In conclusion, thank you, everybody, for listening and I hope you are having a wonderful evening and are all as happy as we are today.
Please join me in drinking a toast to the health of the Grand Master and our future.
Top left, 23 May 200: the Prince and Grand Master Fra’ Andrew Bertie with the President of the Republic of Macedonia, Boris Trajkovski, on a State Visit to the Magistral Palace in Rome. Also present was the Grand Chancellor, Amb. Count Don Carlo Marullo di Condojanni.
Top right, The Official Visit of the President of the Republic of Ecuador, Gustavo Noboa Bejrano, and his wife Donna Maria Isabel. This meeting was held on 15 October 2000, and was attended by the Grand Chancellor of the Order, Amb. Count Don Carlo Marullo di Condojanni and the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Amb. Francesco Guariglia.
Bottom, Rome. Magistral Villa on the Aventine. The Te Deum Ceremony closing the celebrations for the ninth century of life of the Order. His Most Eminent Highness the Prince and Grand Master, Fra’ Andrew Bertie, together with the Members of the Sovereign Council, the Prelate of the Order, the Heads of Diplomatic Missions, and the President of the Italian Republic, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, with his wife.