The solemn funeral of Fra’ Marco Luzzago, Lieutenant of the Grand Master
Intense emotion and great participation for the solemn funeral of Fra’ Marco Luzzago, Lieutenant of the Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta, held yesterday in Rome in the Basilica of Santi Bonifacio e Alessio at the Aventine.
Escorted by the knights and dames of the Order of Malta from all over the world, including Confs. John Murphy, David Scarf and Simon Grenfell from the Australian Association, the picket of the Italian Association’s military corps and the volunteers of the Italian Relief Corps, the coffin – draped in the Order’s flag – moved shortly after 10.30 a.m. from the Church of Santa Maria in Aventino, in the Magistral Villa complex, where the funeral chamber had been set up a few days earlier.
The long procession accompanied the coffin of Fra’ Marco Luzzago, who died suddenly on 7 June at the age of 71, through the main gate of the Magistral Villa, with red flags at half-mast, to the adjacent Basilica of Santi Bonifacio e Alessio.
The funeral ceremony, in a packed church, was officiated by Cardinal Silvano Maria Tomasi, Special Delegate of the Pope, and concelebrated by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Dean of the College of Cardinals, and Monsignor Jean Laffitte, Prelate of the Order of Malta.
Recalling the deceased’s kindness and sincere goodness of spirit, his frank smile and direct gaze, Cardinal Tomasi in his homily highlighted how ‘Fra’ Marco loved Jesus, the Church and the Order.
The example of Fra’ Marco testifies that love for Jesus Christ transforms life into unconditional and limitless service. This love in Fra’ Marco welded together existence, service to the Order in the Church and the personal journey of faith, steeped in prayer and action”. “His bonhomie, the trait of a simple and concrete man, pious, humble, devout, faithful to the Pope and in love with the Order, which he held with humility and a spirit of service in these times of travail and troubled waters. His honesty must be an example for all, especially for those with responsibilities,” continued the Cardinal, invoking for Fra’ Marco, through the words of Pope Francis, eternal peace.
Fra’ Marco Luzzago, during his tenure of less than twenty months at the helm of the Order, marked first by the pandemic emergency and then by the relief work following the war in Ukraine, had managed to touch the hearts of those who had worked with him and accompanied him through the corridors of the Magistral Palace. A place dear to him but also so distant from the Order’s Commandery in Le Marche, the Villa Ciccolini that he had managed and lived in for so many years. Similarly, on the occasions when he travelled as Lieutenant, such as a few weeks ago to the soup kitchen run by the Order of Malta in Pompei or during his last pilgrimage to Lourdes, Fra’ Marco had been appreciated for his generosity, spirituality and dedication, a reflection of his “shining Christian witness”, as Pope Francis put it.
The funeral was attended by the Interim Lieutenant of the Sovereign Order of Malta Fra’ Ruy Gonçalo do Valle Peixoto de Villas-Boas, members of the Sovereign Council, Fra’ Marco Luzzago’s family members, representatives of the Grand Priories, Sub-Priories, National Associations, diplomatic missions and volunteer corps of the Order of Malta around the world. Together with them, the Ambassadors of the countries with which the Order maintains diplomatic relations, civil and religious authorities.
The funeral rite was broadcast live on the Order of Malta’s YouTube channel to allow members and volunteers worldwide to follow and participate live in the final farewell for Fra’ Marco Luzzago. Hundreds of messages continue to reach the Grand Magistry in these days to express condolences for the passing of the Lieutenant.
Accompanied by his family, Fra’ Marco Luzzago’s coffin will be buried in the family tomb.