Worldwide the Order of Malta celebrates St John’s Day every 24 June, the birthday of its patron saint
The traditional ceremonies, which in London take place at the Brompton Oratory, celebrate the nativity of St John Baptist, the Order’s patron saint, in every Order Association and Grand Priory around the world. Also traditional is the investiture of new members and the presentation of medals as recognition of the work in the Order’s projects in Britain, carried out with dedication and commitment over the year by members, volunteers and staff.
This year’s homily was preached by the Right Reverend Kenneth Nowakowski, Ukrainian Eparchial Bishop of the Holy Family Eparchy in London (see photograph), who spoke of St John as a disciple of the truth – who speaks truth to the people when he begins his ministry.
After his formative years in Canada, the bishop described his return to his native Ukraine in 1990, to the Carpathian Mountains, and finding there the eight-pointed cross of the Order of Malta whose people were bringing support to the poverty-stricken area, and so he realised that Ukraine wasn’t isolated. He noted with gratitude that in the current crisis, the Order has already provided over six thousand tons of aid, as well as psychosocial support – so that people are taking heart that they are not alone. He spoke of the example set by St John, and the search for truth – and that he is the Order’s inspiration, a powerful image of truth. And he sees that the Order brings truth and kindness to the four corners of the earth.
“On this wonderful feast,” he concluded, “I congratulate you for your work, for standing for the truth, for your vocation to help those in need, and I thank you from my heart for all your support for Ukraine.”