Father Christopher Butera, pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus, Bath, was invested as a Deputy Chaplain for the Sovereign Military Order of Malta during a Mass Nov. 9 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York.
Bishop Alfred Schlert, a Chaplain of the order, was main celebrant of the Mass.
The Order of Malta is a lay religious order of the Catholic Church founded in 1113. It is known for its care of the sick and the poor, and for its defense of the faith. It is active in 120 countries caring for people in need through its medical, social, and humanitarian works.
The Allentown Area Order of Malta also sponsors “Defending Our Faith” in the Diocese of Allentown, on topics including the Church’s teaching on abortion and end-of-life issues.
“I am deeply honored and humbled to serve as a Deputy Chaplain to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a role that marries my deepest spiritual convictions with the noble cause of this historic order,” said Father Butera. “Embracing Blessed Gerard’s ethos, ‘We are to love the poor as we love Christ Himself,’ I am eager to embody this sacred duty with fervor and humility, providing spiritual guidance and support to those dedicated to serving the needy and upholding the order’s venerable traditions.
“Bishop Schlert asked me if I would consider becoming a Deputy Chaplain as a position became available in our region. I was greatly humbled and honored for him to consider me to work with such a benevolent and chivalrous order. The Knights and Dames of the order, although themselves look for no attention or recognition, are renowned for their works of charity and service to those in need, whether it be the sick, the needy, imprisoned, you name it. To be part of such an organization is a privilege, and I said ‘yes.”’
The Installation of Deputy Chaplains was led by Chancellor Thomas Reedy. He announced Father Butera as a deputy chaplain for Pennsylvania, along with five other new Deputy Chaplains, for the areas of: Florida Northeast, Florida Southeast, Missouri, New Jersey, and Ohio.
“I am pleased to announce your appointment as Deputy Chaplains to assist in the spiritual care of the Knights and Dames of the American Association, in the area in which each of you will serve, and to which you have been appointed,” said Reedy.
“I enjoin upon you the spiritual care of these good people and their families, responding, as I know you will, to the high purposes of your ordination to instruct and inspire them in the faith of the Church. You will also guide their spiritual development and moral practice.
“In this, you will enable them to pursue the purposes of the order: first, to defend the faith, and then urge the Knights and Dames in their devotion to the Lord’s beatitudes to rededicate themselves to the care of the sick and the poor, especially in bringing them the consolations of Christ Himself.”
The beatitudes are: spiritual contentment, to live simply without malice, to live humbly, to repent of our faults and sins, to love justice, to be merciful, to be pure and spotless in mind and heart, and to endure afflictions and persecutions for the sake of justice.
As Deputy Chaplain, Father Butera will assist Bishop Schlert as a Chaplain to the order, be a spiritual advisor to members, collaborate with them in works of service and charity, and participate in their meetings and ceremonies.
“I’ll help them in whatever way I can, spiritually and physically,” said Father. “They operate locally for works of charity, provide opportunities to take the sick to Lourdes (among other things), and Chaplains/Deputy Chaplains assist in all of this while also providing seminars, retreats, lectures, and prayer in person and online as webinars.”
The Mass was followed by a cocktail reception with the President and Board of Councillors of the American Association for new members, new chaplains, their family members, and sponsors, at the InterContinental – New York Barclay Hotel.
To see a video of the Mass on YouTube, go to https://bit.ly/47wvpjG.
For more information on the Order of Malta, go to https://www.orderofmalta.int/.
Photo: Father Christopher Butera, left, with Bishop Alfred Schlert, after the investiture Mass.