New Knights, Dames Reminded of Malta Order’s ‘Loving Care’ for Sick

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"Discipleship demands that we be ready to embrace the cross to follow Jesus,” said Boston Cardinal Séan O’Malley to 63 men and women—including 12 from the Archdiocese of New York—he was about to invest as knights and dames in the Order of Malta.

Two bishops were installed as conventual chaplains: Bishop John T. Folda of Fargo, N.D., and Bishop Gerald Lee Vincke of Salina, Kan. Two priests were installed as magistral chaplains, one from Michigan and the other from Philadelphia.

“As members of the Order of Malta, you wear the Maltese Cross as a reminder and a symbol of the renewal of your baptismal call to holiness that is reaffirmed by your participation in this order,” said Cardinal O’Malley in his homily at the Mass and investiture ceremony he celebrated Nov. 15 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Cardinal O’Malley is also a member of the order—Baliff Grand Cross of Honor and Devotion—and has a Maltese cross on his episcopal coat of arms.

“The order has a long and fascinating history,” continued Cardinal O’Malley, “but our interest in the Order of Malta must not be an attraction to some museum piece, but must be seen as a movement of men and women dedicated to the ideals of the Gospel, the defense of the faith and the works of mercy, especially a loving care for the sick.

“So I see the cross on my coat of arms not as a heraldic curiosity but a reminder of Jesus’ eight-point program for His disciples, since the eight points of the Maltese cross represent the eight beatitudes that have been proclaimed in today’s Gospel,” Matthew 5:3-10.

Cardinal O’Malley explained to the congregation that because Cardinal Dolan was in Rome for the New York bishops’ ad limina visit, he was asked to preside at the Solemn Liturgy of Investiture. “This is an iconic place, and it’s a great privilege to celebrate the Eucharist here with all of you,” Cardinal O’Malley said.

After the Mass, CNY spoke with a newly invested dame and knight who were among the many assembled for photos outside the sanctuary.

“This is a very joyous day to recommit to the Lord, and to Gospels and to the charisma of Malta,” said beaming new dame Jeanne F. Stewart, an attorney who belongs to St. Luke parish in Westport, Conn., Diocese of Bridgeport. “The cardinal’s homily was so perfect to explain to us, once again, the meaningfulness of Malta…to serve the poor, and to be spiritual and be close to Jesus.”

Dominique Conseil, a new knight from Holy Family parish in St. Louis Park, Minn., Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, said he was drawn to the Order of Malta “as the way for me to be of service to our Lord.”

Conseil, 63, who said he was retired from running an industrial company, added, “Once in my life I suddenly had more time to attend to the important things—taking care of the poor and the sick.”

Although the Order of Malta traces its origins to a hospice for pilgrims established in Jerusalem in the last half of the 11th century, it celebrates 1099 as its official establishment.

The order developed the concept of modern hospitals and was a leader in medical science. The order established its headquarters in Rome in 1834, from where it has carried out its mission to help the sick and the poor. It supports programs in more than 120 countries.

Knights of Magistral Grace invested from the archdiocese are James F. Egan of Resurrection parish, Rye; James J. Fallon of The Magdalene, Pocantico Hills; Luis J. Fujimoto of St. Ignatius Loyola, Manhattan; William M. Ioas Sierra of Holy Family, Manhattan; and Andrew L. Shemin of the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, Manhattan.

Dames of Magistral Grace invested from the archdiocese are Elizabeth C. Baine of Resurrection, Rye; Kathleen R. Fallon of The Magdalene, Pocantico Hills; Amandine Freidheim of St. Patrick’s Cathedral; MaryPat S. Hughes of St. Augustine, Ossining; Blanche Johnson of St. Joseph, Manhattan, and Karen E. Maynard and Kathryn E. Staudt of St. Monica, St. Elizabeth of Hungary and St. Stephen of Hungary, Manhattan.

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