This past December His Most Eminent Highness, the Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto, announced the promotion of Msgr. Steven D. Otellini, STL, JCD, of the Western Association, to the rank of Conventual Chaplain Grand Cross ad honorem, the highest rank for Chaplains of the Order.
The Grand Cross is a promotion of a member in the Order, rather than an award. The rank of Conventual Chaplain Grand Cross ad honorem is somewhat recent and parallels the rank of Knight Grand Cross amongst Chaplains of the Order of Malta.
In addition to his many years of dedicated service to the Western Association and the Sub-priory of Our Lady of Philermo, Monsignor Otellini has been of extraordinary service to the global Order.
The rank of Knight Grand Cross, however, goes back centuries in the history of the Order. Knights Grand Cross were promoted to that rank either as a function of their military rank in commanding forces of the Order, or in recognition of their pre-eminence in, or extraordinary contribution to the Order.
The rank of Knight or Dame Grand Cross has evolved within the Order since then, but still refers to a Knight or Dame who has been recognized by virtue of their long-standing leadership service within the Order, or who has performed extraordinary services to the Order.
The English translation of the Regulations for Conventual Chaplains ad Honorem and Magistral Chaplains (note #1) describes four ranks among Chaplains of the Order:
- Conventual Chaplains Grand Cross ad honorem
- Conventual Chaplains ad honorem
- Magistral Chaplains
- Deputy Magistral Chaplains
The two senior ranks bear the postscript “ad honorem”, or “honorary”, denoting that they are honorary ranks conferred by the Grand Master at his discretion.
It is customary for Cardinals or Archbishops becoming Chaplains of the Order of Malta to be awarded one of the honorary ranks. Otherwise, the Grand Master reserves the ranks to recognize those Chaplains of the Order who have provided extraordinary service to the Order, often over a long period.
This is most certainly true of Monsignor Otellini. In addition to his many years of dedicated service to the Western Association and the Sub-priory of Our Lady of Philermo, Monsignor Otellini has been of extraordinary service to the global Order, and it is not at all surprising that the Grand Master saw fit to elevate him to the highest honorary rank for Chaplains.
Given his fluency in many languages and familiarity with the Curia, the Grand Magistry and the clergy in the United States, Monsignor Otellini has been a valuable resource for the Grand Magistry, notably with the prior Prelate of the Order, Archbishop Acerbi, during whose time in office Monsignor Otellini served as Consultor to the Prelate from 2002 to 2016.
Monsignor Otellini is particularly recognized for his work with the International Lourdes Committee under the leadership of Marchese Gian Luca Chiavari for over 20 years.
Monsignor Otellini is particularly recognized for his work with the International Lourdes Committee under the leadership of Marchese Gian Luca Chiavari for over 20 years. He has made well over 20 pilgrimages and has generously made himself available to coordinate and translate between the English-speaking associations and local officials of the Hospitalité Notre Dame de Lourdes and the Diocese.
Amongst many other achievements, Monsignor Otellini was appointed as a representative to the International Strategy Seminar in 2004 and co-chaired the committee on Knights of the First Class at the International Strategy Seminar in 2014. He undertook the updated editing and translation of the Missal of the Order in English, shepherding it through to its publication in Monsignor Otellini has served as Chief Chaplain to the Global Fund for Forgotten People since 2015 and has been a strong supporter of the Fund and its work since its creation in 2012. It is no wonder that the Grand Master saw fit to promote Monsignor Otellini, and the entire Western Association should take pride in seeing one of our own recognized in this way.
The actual presentation of this promotion is still pending. It was originally to take place in Lourdes during the pilgrimage; however, with the pilgrimage being canceled and passing of the Grand Master, we await the announcement of when the presentation will take place. Congratulations Monsignor on this well deserved honor.
Note #1: Regulations for Conventual Chaplains ad Honorem
By David Barca and News Team