Commends local Knights and Dames for service to underprivileged
The head of the Order of Malta met with members of the historic lay religious order in Singapore during a private visit recently.
Grand Master Fra Matthew Festing’s May 17-20 visit is believed to be the first of its kind in Singapore.
During a dinner hosted for him on May 18, Fra Festing commended the Singapore Association of the Order of Malta for its work since its founding in 2003.
He particularly referred to its raising of funds for two clinics in the Luang Prabang highlands in Laos.
Fra Festing also said he was very excited about the potential work the local association was exploring in Indonesia.
He noted that though Singapore may not necessarily provide many opportunities to serve the sick and poor locally, it remains a viable hub for the order to explore setting up a permanent relief mission here to better serve the Southeast Asian region.
Archbishop Nicholas Chia and Vicar General Msgr Eugene Vaz attended the dinner, together with more than 40 Knights and Dames of the order from Singapore and Thailand, their spouses, as well as associate members and Friends of the Order.
During the event, Fra Festing conferred on Mr Michael Khoo, the president of the Singapore association, the rank of Knight Grand Cross of Magistral Grace for his commitment to the Singapore order and Malteser International, the world-wide relief agency of the Order of Malta.
The Grand Master also visited Command House (formerly known as Flagstaff House) at Kheam Hock Road. The Englishman had lived there with his father, Field Marshall Sir Francis Festing, who was the Commander in Chief of the Far East Land Forces stationed in Singapore between 1956 and 1958.
UBS Business University now occupies the building.
Prior to the Grand Master’s visit, 44 local Knights and Dames went on a pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, from May 2-7. Among them were nine people suffering from illnesses such as cancer and heart disease.
The Order of Malta was founded as the Order of St John of Jerusalem by Pope Pascal II in 1113.
Its historic mission has been to help the sick, the needy and the most disadvantaged in society. It now operates in more than 120 countries.