Pope Francis took over the reform process after a fierce debate within the order.
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The papal meeting included the Lieutenant Grand Master Fra’ Marco Luzzago, as well as the papal delegate Cardinal Silvano Maria Tomasi, who is overseeing the drafting of the new constitution.
The papal delegate, appointed in 2020, spoke with the Register prior to a two-day meeting of leadership that is overseeing the reforms.
In a pastoral letter anticipating the Pope’s scheduled 2020 visit, Malta’s bishops said that the theme of the trip would be “They showed us unusual kindness” (Acts 28:2).
In 2017, Pope Francis ordered reforms of both the order’s religious life and its constitution.
Fra’ Luzzago, whose official title is Lieutenant of the Grand Master, added that “this sovereignty has enabled the Order of Malta to build up its vast network of international relations through its diplomacy committed to the constant support of its centuries-old humanitarian mission.”
Fra’ Festing, who died in Malta on Nov. 12 at the age of 71, will be buried in the cathedral’s Grand Masters’ Crypt, which was reopened to the public in January 2020 after restoration work.
Fra’ Festing was elected as the order’s 79th Grand Master, on March 11, 2008, taking on responsibility for overseeing the organization’s global humanitarian work and diplomatic relations with more than 100 states.
Pope Francis thanked Cardinal Tomasi for “the positive steps taken in the spiritual and moral renewal of the Order” in the past year since his appointment,
Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta invited people to pray for the safety of the Mediterranean island country as the number of coronavirus cases rises.