Knights and dames of the Order of Malta marked the 900th anniversary of the death of the Order’s founder, Blessed Fra’ Gerard, with a Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney.
The September 3 Mass was celebrated by Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, who is also one of the Order of Malta’s honorary conventual chaplains.
Although attendance at the cathedral was limited due to COVID-19 social distancing precautions, hundreds of Order of Malta members, volunteers and supporters worldwide were able to join the Mass via livestream.
Blessed Fra’ Gerard died in Jerusalem on September 3,1120. He was the founder and first Grand Master of the Order of Malta, one of the oldest religious orders of the Church.
His hospital for pilgrims to the Holy Land accepted everyone, regardless of origin or religion. For nine centuries members and volunteers of the Order of Malta have put his ideals of faith and charity into practice.
James Douglas, president of the Australian Association, said: “In Australia and New Zealand, our 300 members together with enthusiastic volunteers provide personal service to the homeless, the dying, the poor and those who continue their struggle rebuilding their lives after the bushfires that started in late 2019. Our work continues in spite of restrictions from COVID-19.
“To serve the sick and the poor is the gift that Fra’ Gerard left us and for which we remember him on this important 900th anniversary of his death.”