The Path to Peace Foundation The Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations

Path to Peace Gala Dinner 2024
Address by H.E. Archbishop Gabriele Caccia
New York, 23 May 2024

Your Eminent Highness,
Your Eminence,
Your Excellencies,
Distinguished Guests,
Members of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear friends,

I am delighted to welcome you to the thirty-first Path to Peace Gala. This is our annual family gathering, bringing together friends and long-time supporters of the Path to Peace Foundation, as well as many new acquaintances. Let me thank you, also on behalf of the Board of the Foundation and all the staff of the Holy See Mission to the United Nations, for making the effort to be here this evening. It is great to see you present in such numbers.

The principal purpose of the Path to Peace Foundation is the spreading of the message of peace by which the Catholic Church, through the words and activities of the Pope and of the Holy See, strives to “guide our steps into the path of peace” (Luke 1:79). As many of you are aware, in order to do this the Foundation, independent from, but in collaboration with the Holy See Mission, directs its activities primarily to support the Holy See Mission on the international stage of the United Nations, promoting peace, respect for human dignity, and advancing the integral development of the human person. Our gathering tonight is a sign of our solidarity with those values, which are universal, but need to be proclaimed tirelessly.

The highlight of our annual gala is the conferral of the Path to Peace Award in recognition of a special commitment to the cause of peace in the world. The promotion and maintenance of peace is the raison d’être of the United Nations Organization founded in the aftermath of the Second World War, precisely to save future generations from the scourge of war. Yet our world today is more wounded and divided than at any time in recent memory. Many voices criticize the UN for not doing enough to promote peace, and there are good reasons for that, but the UN is the States who are its members, and ultimately those members are us – you and me. We all have our part to play in the enterprise of peace. That is why those who choose to walk the “path to peace” deserve special recognition and encouragement.

Tonight, therefore, I am pleased to confer our annual award upon our guest of honor, His Most Eminent Highness Fra’ John Dunlap, Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta. Thank you, Fra’ John, for travelling from Rome to be with us this evening.

Fra’ John is well known to us. Indeed, he has been a part of the life of the Holy See Mission to the United Nations for three decades. In the days before he was so eminent, he generously offered his time and skills to the Holy See Mission as an expert adviser on legal affairs. More recently he has served as a Member of the Board of the Path to Peace Foundation. So, we were all thrilled when, following the revision of the constitutions of the Order of Malta, he was elected as the new Grand Master, the first ever from the American Continent. On receiving this news, all the members of the Board decided unanimously that he should be the recipient of this year’s Path to Peace Award, and when the motion was officially voted, all were in favor, with one abstention of course, Fra’ John, the concerned party, who graciously accepted this well-deserved recognition.

The same commitment to humanitarian service and diplomacy that marked Fra’ John’s service to the Holy See Mission has served him in his efforts to advance the charitable missions of the Order of Malta, ensuring that they remain a beacon of hope in a world scarred by conflict and division. His approach underscores the importance of understanding diplomatic activity not merely as a political endeavor, but as a form of Apostolic service that gives glory to God by serving those in greatest need. In the halls of the United Nations, this approach has been the hallmark of the Order of Malta’s presence as an Observer over these past thirty years.

In conferring the Path to Peace Prize on Fra’ John we pay tribute, not only to his individual achievements, but also recognize the work of the Order of Malta to promote a more just and compassionate world. From providing medical assistance and disaster relief, to advocating for the rights of refugees and the most vulnerable, the Order’s contribution to the global community is significant.

This is nothing new. Founded over 900 years ago, the Order of Malta, has, from its inception, been guided by the noble principles of defense of the faith (tuitio fidei) and service to the poor (obsequium pauperum). These principles are not merely historical artifacts but are vibrantly alive in the Order’s contemporary mission, demonstrating that faith and charity are inseparable and that our service to the most vulnerable among us is a direct reflection of our love for God.

Dear Fra’ John,
Thank you to you and to the Order of Malta for your dedication and unwavering commitment to these foundational principles that we all hold dear. May God bless you and the Order of Malta as you continue your vital work in the service of peace and the defense of human dignity.

And now… in recognition of his commitment to the principles of faith and charity, his exemplary service and his leadership within the Order of Malta, it is my privilege to present the 2024 Path to Peace Award to His Most Eminent Highness Fra’ John Dunlap, Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.