News archive 2003

Order of Malta Prelate to make historic visit to Ireland this week


12 November 2003





Archbishop Angelo Acerbi, the Prelate of the Sovereign Order of Malta, will
be making a pastoral visit to Ireland from Thursday 13th to Monday 17th November
2003. As Prelate of the Order, Archbishop Acerbi resides in the Vatican and
is principally responsible for the spiritual welfare of the 12,000 members of
the Sovereign Order of Malta worldwide, with its 80,000 assistants in charitable

In Ireland, there are 235 members of the Order and its main charitable work is
that of directing the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps which has over 3,400 members
in its Irish units.

This is the first visit made to Ireland by a Prelate of the Order of Malta in
its 900-year history. During his visit, Archbishop Acerbi will see the work
undertaken by the Irish Association of the Order of Malta and the Order of Malta
Ambulance Corps.

He will be principal celebrant at a Solemn Mass in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth
on Saturday 15th November. He will also preside at an Ecumenical Service of Vespers
in the medieval Cathedral of Downpatrick on Sunday 16th November. On Monday 17th
November, he will depart from Ireland for a Pastoral Visit to Scotland and England.

Archbishop Acerbi is a former Nuncio to New Zealand, Colombia and also to Holland.
During his time in Colombia, he was kidnapped by guerrillas and held in captivity
for two months before being released. Since his appointment as Prelate of the Order
he has made important efforts to revitalise the spirituality of the members of the
Order of Malta worldwide.


12 November 2003


Mrs Jullie Rhyder (Dublin) at (01) 668 4891 or (01) 668 5768
Fr Hugh Kennedy (Belfast) at (048) 90 351851


Thursday 13th November: 16:30pm Arrival of Archbishop Acerbi at Dublin Airport.
Met at VIP Lounge and escorted to Apostolic Nunciature.

Friday 14th November: Mass with members of Presidential Council in St John’s
House Dublin at 11:30am followed by meeting with members of the Order of Malta
“Luncheon Club for the Elderly” in St John’s House.

Visit to Trinity College Dublin, including a visit to the College Chapel with
private viewing of the Book of Kells in the College Library and afternoon tea
with the Provost of the College and the Chaplains of the University.

7:30pm for 8pm Dinner with representatives of the Presidential Council of the
Irish Association of the Order of Malta and Sub-Priory with international visitors
at the Stephen’s Green Club, Dublin.

Saturday 15th November: 11am Solemn Requiem Mass for deceased members of the Irish
Association of the Order of Malta in the College Chapel in St Patrick’s College
Maynooth. Cardinal Connell will also be present and the Papal Nuncio. Members of
the Order of Malta from Germany, Great Britain, Italy Hungry Australia will be
present for this Mass, Members of the diplomatic Corps will also attend.

12:45pm Reception. For invited guests and members of the Irish Association in Pugin
Hall, St Patrick’s College Maynooth.

At the end of the reception there will be the official launch of a power-point display
of the work of the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps.

Sunday 16th November

Archbishop Acerbi will be principal celebrant at Parish Mass in St Patrick’s Church
Downpatrick. Concelebrants will include Archbishop Maurice Couve De Murvile and Bishop
Ray Field.

3:30pm Sung Latin Vespers in Downpatrick Cathedral. Presided by the Prelate. Bishop
Gordan McMullan Chaplain of the Venerable Order of St John to Preach. The music will
be provided by the choir of St Malachy’s College Belfast. This is only the second
time sine 1547 that this form of Liturgy led by a Catholic Bishop has been permitted
in the Cathedral, and is a very positive sign of the strong ecumenical relations
that have grown between the two Order’s of St John in Northern Ireland.

Political and Civic leaders will be present.

4:45pm Reception in the St Patrick’s Centre, including presentation of the “Life of
St Patrick film” in the theatre.

Monday 17th November:

Departure at 8:45am from Belfast City Airport for Glasgow.

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