2022 – Christmas message – Fra’ John Dunlap, Lieutenant of the Grand Master
The peace of the infant Jesus and the blessings of the Incarnation be with us this Christmas season and throughout the new year!
I would like to extend my personal best wishes and prayers for a happy and holy Christmas to my brothers in vows, our confreres, staff, volunteers, and friends around the world. Their unflagging dedication, hard work, and loyalty during the year has most assuredly put us on the road to a thriving 2023 for our beloved Order. I thank each and everyone of you who holds the best interests of the Order of Malta close to your heart.
The year that is quickly passing has been replete with challenges and not a few successes. Chief among them was the conclusion of a five-year renewal process. After carefully considering a variety of proposals and opinions, the Holy Father on September 3, 2022 promulgated a new constitution and code for the Order which underscores its religious character. I know that the vast majority are looking forward to the coming Chapter General in January where we will begin to implement the provisions and reforms that have emerged during the process of renewal.
The renewal of the Order has one over-riding purpose: to strengthen our religious nature so as to enable us to serve the poor and sick most effectively.
Our global relief operations were sorely challenged in 2022 with the continuation of escalating violent conflicts in Ukraine and many other parts of the world — out of sight, perhaps, yet nonetheless lethal and disastrous for millions of innocent people. But theatres of war are not the only place that suffering, death and destruction reign. The Order confronts human misery as it fights marginalization, poverty, neglected diseases, climate change, the displacement of people, the deliberate destruction of fragile communities, and so many other injustices that plague humanity.
Even as we expand our widespread relief efforts, we cannot forget the spiritual mooring, the very foundation, of our work. This foundation is our driving force; this is our guiding star. While we deliver support to the displaced, medical help to the sick, and aid to the poor, we must always remember the Christian roots of our vocation. And what better time than Christmas to be reminded?
I am proud of the splendid work the Order does around the world in the name of Christ. I am in awe when I see the commitment and passion of our thousands of members, employees and volunteers who, courageously and selflessly, dedicate themselves to alleviating human suffering on five continents. I know full well that we owe a great deal to the thousands of supporters who take up our cause with their eyes fixed on the Christ-light that beckons us to serve mankind. Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum.
May the blessings of the Christ-child be upon us all!