Valdragone, June 11th, 2022 – The Shrine of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Valdragone (San Marino) has been chosen for the annual celebration in honor of St. John the Baptist, Patron Saint of the Order of Malta, that this year was jointly organized in San Marino by the Embassy and the Delegation of Eastern Emilia – Romagna.
At 4.30 pm punctually behind the processional cross and the flags, the Knights, Dames, Donati and Donate of the Delegation started in procession from the crypt towards the upper basilica where the Evening Mass of the Feast of the Holy Trinity was celebrated, presided over by Rev. Don Paolo Pasini, Conventual Chaplain ad honorem, with the assistance of M.R. Mons. Mariano Faccani Pignatelli, Grand Cross Conventual chaplain ad honorem and by the Rev. Can. Don Federico Badiali, Conventual Chaplain ad honorem.
In his introductory greeting, the Delegate Count Emanuele F. Ranuzzi de’ Bianchi recalled the grave mourning that recently struck the Order of Malta with the sudden death of the Lieutenant of the Grand Master Fra’ Marco Luzzago, for whom he was offered the Holy Sacrifice, remembering in particular when he took part in the pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Beata Vergine di San Luca in Bologna in 2011.
Count Ranuzzi remembered in his speech that “Bologna and San Marino represent, with Ferrara to the north east, the boundaries of our Grand Prior Delegation which, by tradition, every year celebrates St. John the Baptist in a different place in the delegation territory. This year it was not by chance that we chose to return to San Marino: a few weeks ago, in fact, an important health project was launched, promoted by the Embassy of our Order, which aims to raise awareness among the population on the importance of preventing cardiovascular risk”.
After the homily, centered on the Mystery of the Holy Trinity, H.E. the Amb. Prof. Marcello Celestini conferred two honors of the Order of «Al Merito Melitense» on two San Marino authorities who have made themselves particularly meritorious for their help in organizing the health project currently underway. Col. Maurizio Faraone, Commander of the Gendarmerie Corps, received the insignia of Commander with Swords; Dr. Sergio Rabini of the I.S.S. and Dr. Claudio Muccioli of the Health Authority (not present at the ceremony due to previous engagements) were instead awarded with thecross of Knight Official.
Subsequently, the Delegate in turn delivered a special certificate to those who “served under the banner of our White Octagonal Cross during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of them, who have particularly distinguished themselves for commitment and self-denial, will later receive the Medal of Merit conferred by the Grand Magisterium of the Order. This sign is public recognition of the merits they have already achieved and an incentive for all to an ever greater commitment to the service of the Neighbor”.
At the end of the liturgical celebration, the participants gathered in the nearby Casa San Giuseppe for a moment of conviviality.