ROYAL VISIT TO NEW YORK, MARCH 2016.
The US Delegation is grateful for the kindness of Their Royal Highnesses, Prince Carlo and Princess Camilla di Borbone delle Due Sicilie in fully incorporating us in their extraordinary visit to New York City and the United Nation.
Arrival in NYC
TRH and Princesses Maria Carolina and Maria Chiara and party were welcomed at Kennedy Airport by our Vice-Chancellor, Cav. Patrick O'Boyle. Flowers were presented to the Princesses and the royal party were given a blessing by Msgr. Joseph Ambrosio, Chaplain of the Order. Many members of the Comitati Due Sicilie (CDS) in New York enthusiastically greeted the Royal Family at the Airport and made them feel at home and welcomed. This signified the first known Royal Visit when the Order and the CDS coordinated in providing a reception to the Royal Family.
Meeting with Delegation Leadership
HRH held a meeting to discuss all aspects of the status of the Delegation in the United States. Present in the comprehensive and fruitful conference were the Prince's Private Secretary, the Delegate John M. Viola, Vice-Chancellor O'Boyle and myself. HRH expressed satisfaction with the ongoing initiatives of the Delegation and encouraged continued progress in the direction which the Delegate has chosen for the growth of our Orders.
Investiture of New Members
An investiture of new members of both the SMCSG and Order of Francis I was held in the afternoon on March 3, 2016 at the Lady Chapel of the Cathedral of Saint Patrick. Our esteemed Prior, His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick led the Prayer Service and Blessing. HRH bestowed the insignia to all inductees and the Delegate presented the Brevet of Appointment. Approximately 150 people attended the Prayer Service, at the conclusion of which members venerated a Sacred Relic of the Holy Cross that was exposed for the occasion. TRH the Duchesses of Castro, Palermo and Capri were in attendance.
New members inducted that evening were Monsignor Joseph Ambrosio, Mr. Charles Turano, Mr. Joseph Sciame, Dr. John Rosa, Mr. Anthony O'Boyle, Esq., Mr. Anthony Manganiello, Mr. Michael Viola, and Ms. Giosetta Capriati as Knights and Dame of the Constanitian Order and the Hon. Patricia de Stacy Harrison, the Pres. of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Mr. Gabriel Battista, chairman of the American University of Rome as a Dame and Knight of the Royal Order of Francis I.
Welcome Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick
The Delegation coordinated a Solemn Mass of Welcome for the Royal Family on March 3, 2016 at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick. The Mass commenced with a Procession that included representatives of the Order of Malta and the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher who joined us in welcoming the Royal Family. They were followed by 22 Knights and Dames of our Order; 20 Concelebrating Priests, 4 Seminarians of the Archdiocese of Newark, a Deacon and the Principal Celebrant, Cardinal McCarrick, vested in the robes of the Order.
The Mass was attended by a congregation of over 500 people. The Masters of Ceremonies were Msgr Christopher Hynes of the Archdiocese of Newark and Fr Andrew King of the Cathedral. The Organist was M. Daniel Brondel and Cantor was Salvatore Basile.
TRH The Duchesses of Palermo and Capri beautifully and eloquently led the congregation in the Prayers of the Faithful.
Cardinal McCarrick delivered an eloquent and thoughtful homily in English and Italian that expressed the millennial mission of the Order; the faithfulness of the members to the ministry of the Church and the leadership exemplified by the Royal Family and its dedication to the Order.
The Cathedral Rector, Msgr. Ritchie welcomed all on behalf of Cardinal Dolan and added how much we were all glad to have the entire family in New York and the Cathedral as a sign of our unity as a family in the Order.
The Mass concluded with the singing of the "Inno del Re" - the National Anthem of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and a Procession by all participants. Veneration of the Relic of the Holy Cross followed Mass.
Reception of March 3, 2016
The entire Royal Family attended a Welcome Reception on the evening of March 3rd at the Lotte Palace Hotel on Madison Avenue and 51st Street. Approximately 350 persons attended the event in the Ballroom.
TRH were welcomed by our Delegate. HRH offered warm remarks to the persons thanking everyone for the enthusiasm with which the family was received. He expressed faith in the Order and confidence in the progress of the Order as it moved in 2016. The Prince was pleased to introduce his wonderful family to New York since he and the Princess considered all members of the Orders as part of his own extended family. HRH lauded the years of dedication and stewardship of the Order by our Prior, Cardinal McCarrick. HRH Princess Camilla addressed the crowd and said how very pleased she was to re establish the warm bonds with New York and its people especially the descendants of the Diaspora of the Two Sicilies to continue the vital link to heritage and family roots.
The Royal Party met most, if not all, of the attendees at the Reception, and a receiving line brought hundreds of guests the opportunity to personally welcome the Royal Family to the United States. The reception lasted from 7-10 PM. The last to leave the ballroom were the Delegate and Chancellor.
Most attendees opined that the events of March 3rd were an unqualified success.
HRH Princess Camilla Receives UN Humanitarian Leadership Award
On Friday March 4, at the UN headquarters overlooking the East River, HRH the Duchess of Castro was awarded the 2016 UN 'Women for Peace' Humanitarian Award for her incredible advocacy and work in the protection of the rights of women, especially in conflict areas. TRH and the US Delegate met and discussed issues with the UN Diplomatic community and held meetings with a number of Ambassadors accredited to the United Nations.
Our Order has an accredited consultative status at the United Nations and we are ably represented by our confratello, Cav. John Leopoldo Fiorilla di Santa Croce.
March in March For Women's Rights
The UN March for International Women's Rights was held from the UN on Saturday, March 5th. HRH the Duchess of Castro delivered a rousing affirmation of the inherent rights of the dignity of women in every culture and every corner of the world and called for an end to conflict but especially to end violence against women. HRH was supported by the Prince and their daughters on the podium during her address to thousands of New Yorkers from the UN Plaza.
Joining the Royal Family in the March in attendance were our Delegate, Dama Patricia Kennedy and me.
Our presence as an Order and HRH's inspiring and forceful words placed our Orders in the forefront of the battle for the dignity of women and and end to violence in all its manifestations.
Consultative Meetings with NY and UN Leadership
During their stay, TRH held numerous meetings with UN Leaders; various ambassadors to the world body, and with leaders of the media, philanthropic and business community in the city.
TRH were joined by our Delegate and Dama Giosetta Capriati for a meeting with the Mayor of NYC, the Hon. Bill De Blasio, where the Mayor and TRH discussed ideas for service initiatives in both New York and Naples.
The Prince and Princess visited Ground Zero and paid their respects to the Victims of the 911 attack.
Further meetings were held with the Delegation Leadership and the Royal Family had an opportunity to show some of the sights of New York to the young Princesses, especially the Museums and Broadway.
HRH was pleased to approve the Order's new web site which will go on line soon with pictures of the various events. The Prince also affirmed the date for the next US Investiture on April 30th.
The past few days have been moments of anticipation, reflection, elation and warmth for our Delegation. In a sense, it has been like the weather in New York. The visit of TRH began in rather cloudy, brisk cold weather. The weather changed as soon as they unpacked. The sun broke over the city almost at the same time as the Royal Family took their stroll in Central Park. Members of the Delegation were anxious about our preparations. Our anxieties evaporated the moment that TRH walked into a room with us.
The Royal Family captivated the hearts not just of our members but so many hundreds of other people with whom they came into contact. They are the embodiment of a living link to a heritage and a patrimony for tens of millions of Americans. Their presence among so many people exposed the Orders and its millennial message of service and fidelity to so many who had no knowledge of our confraternity.
This seminal Royal Visit by a caring, gracious, energetic young family has given the Delegation and indeed hundreds of non members the conviction that we must all strive to be stewards of the Order and make the US Delegation a shining example of what we can do working together.
The entire Delegation expresses its unbounded appreciation to Their Royal Highnesses for sharing their time and their great love for humanity with us. Their sense of service and fidelity to tradition has re-invigorated all of us.