Pope Benedict XVI return to the Father’s House
As the Catholic world continues to mourn the passing of Pope Benedict during these solemn days, we recall with great affection and gratitude that one of the Holy Father’s last pontifical acts was to publicly celebrate the Order of Malta’s 900th anniversary on 9 February 2013.
On that occasion, he addressed the members and volunteers of the Order with these words:
“Because of their faith, and through the centuries, members of your order have helped the sick of Jerusalem, then pilgrims exposed to grave danger in the Holy Land. In the 19th century, the order opened up and widened its assistance to the poor and the sick but without ever renouncing its original ideals. Your commitment must continue in this direction … you must never forget your roots.”
Two days after that grand celebration, Pope Benedict formally announced his resignation from the papal office, but not his commitment to serve God, the human family and the Church through his prayers and sufferings until the very end.
Indeed Holy Father, we shall not forget your warmth, kindness and paternal charity towards our Order. And we shall strive as members of the Order of Malta to hold true to your exhortation to serve the poor and the sick with all the courage and strength of our history and tradition.
(Pope Benedict is pictured here with the late Grand Master Fra’ Matthew Festing, receiving the late Dame Rita Tan-Yeoh of the Singapore Association.)
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