First meeting of the new Executive Council
The new committee hit the ground running at its first executive council meeting at the Melbourne campus of ACU on Saturday morning, 5 October 2019. 10 of the 13 members were able to attend in person while the other three rang in from Sydney, Wellington and, in the vice-president’s case, very early in the morning from Portugal!
Before the meeting commenced, Father Gerald O’Collins SJ, one of our conventual chaplains, celebrated mass for us at ACU’s beautiful chapel. It was a simple but moving ceremony with an appropriate focus in the sermon on how the work that we are doing now can bear fruit, like the olive tree, for our grandchildren.
The meeting agenda was extensive; not only for the members to introduce themselves to the range of the Order’s work across Australia and in the region, but also to discuss several imminent events in the life of the Order.
The upcoming Camp for Disabled Youth in Hong Kong on 23-26 October 2019 was on the agenda. Several of the Order’s Australian members are attending and next year’s camp will be held in Australia, organised by the North-Eastern Region. Work is under way to identify a location and a date for that event.
The Australian Association shall inaugurate the first celebration of the Order’s “national” day on 13 October 2019. The object of this celebration is to publicise the Order’s work nationally and internationally at the local parish level. It is an idea developed for the Order in Italy which is now spreading to associations in other countries.
Plans were also discussed for the third World Day of the Poor on 17 November 2019. Local events are being planned by the members which is becoming a more important feature of the Church’s calendar.
The next event, and a major one, is the Asia Pacific Conference to be held between 21 and 24 November 2019 in Victoria. Many of our members have already taken up the chance to attend this conference with a view to obtaining insights into the thinking and experience of our global leaders. Delegates will also include representatives from Rome and elsewhere in the world. It is also a good opportunity to build friendships with members from the Asia Pacific region as well as from the Grand Magistry.
The agenda also included discussion regarding the 2020 Order of Malta Pilgrimages. Not only is there the annual pilgrimage to Lourdes (1-5 May 2020), a pilgrimage to the Holy Land (6 – 17 November 2020) is in the calendar. Each pilgrimage promises to be a significant event in the spiritual life of the Order, especially for those who attend.
The Order’s charitable works were also discussed and included the clinic in Timor-Leste, the 2020 Coats for the Homeless project and work in palliative care.
The next executive council meeting will be held just before the commencement of APC 2019 in November.