The first virtual meeting of the North American Lieutenants with the Grand Master and the Governor General took place on June 5, in a particularly familiar atmosphere.
The pandemic required everyone to adapt to a new concept of social distance and new ways of meeting and working. As already discussed in the previous issue of the Newsletter, the usual meeting of the Spring Grand Magisterium was held through the exchange of reports from the leaders of the Order and a subsequent discussion via email.
June is also customary month for the meeting of North American Lieutenants, who chose to meet virtually this year. On June 5 the 15 Lieutenants, under the coordination of the Vice Governor General for North America Tom Pogge, gathered through an online platform. They had the opportunity to listen to the words of welcome and introduction of the working session given by Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the new Grand Master, who still has not had the opportunity to meet many of the local leaders of the Order in person, having taken up his duties just before the start of the pandemic. After the Grand Master, it was the turn of the Governor General to address the assembled group and share with the participants the latest news from the Grand Magisterium, before listening to updates from the Holy Land by Sami El-Yousef, CEO of the Latin Patriarchate from Jerusalem.
Following these interventions, Angeles Borrego, treasurer for North America presented a collective report that illustrated general figures for the geographical area of reference regarding the number of members, contributions and economic transfers to the Grand Magisterium to support its activities in the Holy Land. Each Lieutenant then had the opportunity to briefly outline what characterizes their Lieutenancy, what makes it “unique”: it was a way to discover many beautiful experiences and strengths and share them.
Vice Governor General Pogge welcomed this first successful virtual meeting experience that shows how solidarity and sharing can and should continue in this period of mandatory social distance.