PHOTOS: The funeral of Fra’ Matthew Festing, the Order of Malta’s 79th Grand Master
The funeral of Fra’ Matthew Festing, the Order of Malta’s 79th Grand Master, takes place at St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta, Malta, Dec. 3, 2021. / Martin Micallef/Maltese Association Order of Malta via Flickr.
Valletta, Malta, Dec 4, 2021 / 04:00 am (CNA).
Fra’ Matthew Festing, the 79th Grand Master of the Order of Malta, was laid to rest in the crypt of a cathedral in Malta’s capital city following his state funeral on Friday.
When his coffin arrived at St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta on Dec. 3, a loud clap of thunder sounded, the order’s British association reported.
Cardinal Silvano Maria Tomasi, the pope’s special delegate to the Order of Malta, celebrated the live-streamed Requiem Mass. Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta and Msgr. Jean Laffitte, the Prelate of the order, concelebrated.
Those present included Malta’s President George Vella and Prime Minister Robert Abela, as well as Fra’ Marco Luzzago, Lieutenant of the Grand Master.
In his homily, Tomasi said: “Through the choice of becoming a Knight of Justice, Fra’ Matthew dedicated his life to the mission of the order, a mission that has remained constant through the centuries: tuìtio fidei et obsequium pauperum, the defense of the Faith and service to the poor.”
“After nine centuries, the mission of the order continues to inspire and it advances on the main road of the Church, faithful to its teaching and to all those who like Fra’ Matthew — and may he rest in peace — tried without fear of their limits to implement the Gospels’ message.”
Festing served as the Grand Master of the lay religious Catholic order, founded in Jerusalem in the 11th century, from 2008 to his resignation in 2017. He died in Malta on Nov. 12 at the age of 71.
Following the Requiem Mass, he was interred in the Crypt of the Grand Masters in St. John’s Co-Cathedral, becoming the order’s 12th Grand Master to be buried in the crypt and the first for hundreds of years.