The Grand Master of the Order of Malta Fra’ Matthew Festing conferred the insignia of Bailiff Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion on Cardinal John Patrick Foley, Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem . Receiving Cardinal Foley in the Magistral Palace in Rome with Fra’ Matthew Festing were the Pro Patron, Archbishop Paolo Sardi and members of the Order of Malta’s government.
In welcoming the 75-year-old cardinal, head of the ancient institution occupied in welfare work and charitable aid for Catholics in the Holy Land, Fra’ Matthew Festing stressed the especially close relations between the two Orders which “for ten centuries have been serving the universal Church, on the solid basis of the Christian principles of love and charity towards all. In particular our two Orders,” recalled Grand Master Festing, “are both occupied in different ways in the Holy Land, the focus of every Christian’s sentiments and hopes. I hope that in future our Order can unite forces to assist the Christian population in this blessed region”.
In his speech, Fra’ Matthew Festing wanted to “grasp this opportunity to express, on behalf of all the Order of Malta’s members, our profound respect and affection towards the Holy Father Benedict XVI, as well as our gratitude for his valiant defence of the inviolable dignity of each and every person, his respect of fundamental human rights and the apostolic dedication with which he indefatigably serves the Church”.
In conferring the rank of Bailiff Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion on Cardinal Foley, former chaplain of the Order of Malta since 2002, Grand Master Festing wanted to express the Order’s appreciation for “the concern, consideration and esteem” that the high prelate has always demonstrated towards the Order of Malta in supporting “with devotion our joint efforts in the pastoral work of promoting the Petrine ministry”.
Cardinal Foley was accompanied by the Order of the Holy Sepulchre’s highest authorities: Lieutenant General Peter Wolff Metternich zur Gracht, Governor General Agostino Borromeo and Vice Governor General Adolfo Rinaldi.