We were hoping for a celebration, even more important than the previous ones, after a two-year break. It was also supposed to be an occasion to celebrate the excellent bilateral relations with the representatives of the Government of Serbia, confirmed by the recent signing of the Postal Agreement between the Republic of Serbia and the Grand Magistry.
Unexpectedly, the Order of Malta was struck by the sudden death of the Lieutenant of the Grand Master, Fra’ Marco Luzzago.
The decision to cancel our National Day was immediate, but it was followed by the desire to remember our Patron Saint and above all to remember Fra ‘Marco with a prayer.
On the afternoon of the 24th, in the Archbishop’s garden, just next to the entrance of our Embassy, we gathered for a moment of remembrance with a few representatives of Serbian institutions, a few diplomats, a few journalists and a few friends of the Sovereign Order of Malta.
His Excellency Ambassador Alberto di Luca addressed the audience with these brief words:
“Now we have neither heart nor soul to make any celebration, because a few days ago, more precisely on June 7, our Lieutenant of the Grand Master, Fra’ Marco Luzzago, returned to the Father’s house. With great pleasure, however, I accepted the proposal of His Excellency Mons. Hocevar, Archbishop of Belgrade, to remember together our Patron Saint of the Order St. John the Baptist. We did not gather to celebrate, but to receive a blessing from the Archbishop Hocevar and to say few words in memory of our late Grand Master“.
His Excellency Mons. Hocevar took the floor and said concisely:
“Kindest regards to the friends of the Sovereign Order of Malta! I would not like to mention anyone in particular because of the particularity of this event. However, I would like to congratulate His Excellency the Ambassador di Luca, and his team, for the day of St. John the Baptist. St. John is inspiration for all of us. The departure of the late Lieutenant of the Grand Master is a call for solidarity. And now we will be together, on this occasion of solidarity and inspiration. Welcome to this park of the Mother of God“.
A small ceremony was concluded by a prayer and a blessing given by Archbishop Hocevar, followed by the Vin d’honneur offered to those who were present.
For some friends who arrived from Italy, and for the Embassy staff, the following day Archbishop Hocevar celebrated a Mass in memory of Fra ‘Marco.
In the picture above: His Exellency Msgr. Stanislav Hocevar and Ambassador Alberto di Luca in the moment of welcome greeting to the attendees, helped in the serbian translation by Prof. Nenad Prokic, Project Manager of the “Make a WISH to the Order of Malta”