St John’s, 18 December 2014. The Grand Magistry of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George has announced today the immediate commencement of a EC$4.6 million (approx. GBP £1,118,007 / €1,424,839) charitable engagement in Antigua and Barbuda in partnership with the Roman Catholic Diocese of St John’s-Basseterre.
The charitable projects, whose grants have now been transferred and match-funded, are being supported through the efforts of the Order’s Delegation for Great Britain and Ireland in cooperation with the Diocese of St John’s-Basseterre. They include the completion of the Good Samaritan Catholic Church and Community Outreach Centre in Hatton, the redevelopment of St Joseph’s Academy, the complete renovation of St Joseph’s and St Patrick’s Catholic Church on Independence Avenue and a sizable sponsorship of the Antilles Episcopal Conference Youth Assembly which will take place in Antigua in 2015.
The announcement of the charitable programme followed the highly successful Official Visit of the Grand Master HRH Prince Charles of Bourbon Two Sicilies, Duke of Castro and the Grand Prior, HE Renato Raffaele Cardinal Martino, and delegation to Antigua and Barbuda from 1-4 November 2014, which included high level meetings with the Governor General, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and the Leader of the Opposition and national faith leaders.
The Delegate for the Caribbean, Secretary General of the Royal Order of Francis I and Magistral Delegate for Inter-Religious Relations of the Constantinian Order, HE Anthony Bailey said, “I am delighted that the Constantinian Order through the generosity of its members and friends in Great Britain & Ireland and following the Official Visit of last month, has commenced these much needed projects and put in place the entire funding. It is our belief that by building schools, training facilities, libraries, places of worship, we provide an opportunity to build development, strong values and a better future for the people of Antigua and Barbuda. The benefits of these projects go well beyond the minority Catholic community to impact the multi-faith Antiguan society as a whole. I look forward to working together with the Diocese, the Antiguan authorities and other local partners to the implementation of the projects within a shortest period of time. I am confident that the projects identified which encompass the full spectrum of need will help to develop understanding and trust within the community and to deliver the relief to the poor and those in need which the Holy Father Pope Francis has so encouraged us all to promote.”
Delegation member The Rt Hon Baroness Scotland of Asthal, QC said, “As a daughter of an Antiguan father, I am truly delighted that the Constantinian Order, of which I have been a member since 2003, has been so gracious as to accede to my pleas that it should widen its global programme to include Antigua and Barbuda, which sadly has within its compass many areas of acute deprivation and need which, notwithstanding the strong faith of its people, merits further spiritual encouragement and is worthy of immediate financial and other support. I very much look forward to the creation of the promised Constantinian Order Young People’s Band which I hope the Hon Charles H. Fernandez and his other Ministerial Colleagues will lend their considerable talent experience to support.”
The institutional charitable and community engagement undertaken and launched in Antigua and Barbuda by the Constantinian Order in the areas of national and religious patrimony and community outreach is part of a wider regional programme for the Caribbean including the Commonwealth of Dominica and St Lucia, and which it is hoped will be extended next year to St Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados and Grenada.