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  • Humanitarian

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"It is very fitting that we should come together in prayer at Mellieha, the oldest Marian Sanctuary on the island of Malta." – Apostolic Journey to Malta – address of His Holiness John Paul II to the faithful gathered at the Marian Sanctuary of Mellieha on Saturday, 26th May 1990.

In the Catholic Calendar, the month of May is devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Grand Priory of the Maltese Islands organized its annual Marian Pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mellieha led by the Grand Prior H.E. Chev. Charles Savona-Ventura, the Chancellor H.E. Chev. Michael Ciavola, and the Commander of Gozo Chev. Carmel Saliba.

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ROBBEN ISLAND........ Set in the heart of Table Bay with iconic Table Mountain and the modern city of Cape Town as its backdrop, the Island has a long history as a wind and
tide-swept, isolated place to detain political prisoners, as a leper colony and animal quarantine station, sometime whaling station and naval defence point. From 1961 and for 30 years, Robben Island was used by the South African government as a prison for political prisoners (most notably, for 18 years by dissident Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela) and convicted criminals.

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During the Easter period the Grand Priory of the Maltese Islands organised a number of religious oriented events.

The first event was the celebration of the Jewish Passover meal reflecting on its relevance to the New Testament. This was held as a fundraising event at Dar Frate Jacoba, a house which welcomes people, especially youths, who are facing social problems. It offers shelter and the possibility of re-discovering their life together with the rest of the community who reside at Dar Frate Jacoba.

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This year’s vigil and Investiture took place over the weekend of April 28 in the St Ninian’s Episcopal Cathedral in Perth. Not only was St Ninian’s a new venue, but this was the first time that the Order had held a ceremony in The Fair City.

For the first time too, a Vigil was held on the evening before the Investiture, with some 30 members joining postulants Philip Tibbets and Neil Yarr. This moving and solemn event had a special atmosphere, setting the tone for the rest of the weekend. Welcoming us to the cathedral on the Friday evening was the Rev Richard Sutton, standing in for the Provost, unfortunately Ill. The sermon was given by Chaplain General Rev Alexander Macdonald, with readings by Grand Bailie Roy Scott and Secretary General Colin Russell. Order members were joined in the Vigil by David and Gail Cradd, and Charles and May McKerrell, all from Cumbria Commandery. This was followed by dinner in the Royal George Hotel.

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At its last meeting the Governing Council of the Grand Priory of Spain of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem approved the striking of a Commemorative Medal commemorating the meeting of the General Chapter of the Order on May 5 in Madrid and the election of a new Grand Master, HE Don Francisco de Borbón Graf von Hardenberg GCLJ. It was commissioned and approved by the Judge of Arms of the Grand Priory, Chev. Dr. Don José María de Montells based on a design created by Mr. Fernando Martínez Larrañaga.

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