Dear Sisters and Brothers in St. John,

2009 was a very difficult year, even tragic, for people and nations due to the international crisis.  However, during this year our humanitarian work and our medical assistance have been more active than ever before. We helped and assisted many persons in need, in many countries and in different continents, and, as a State, new Embassies were opened and our assistancial work and cooperation were extended to new countries. Even during this serious crisis, due to the good work, support and commitment of many of our Knights and Dames, we have grown and responded to the new demands. Once again we have honored our traditions and our historical past in a very difficult period for the all World.

In fact, for millions of persons who in Africa, Asia and Latin America were born and now live in poverty - and probably will die in misery -, this year was not different from the previous ones, but those who, in many developed countries were born under the comfort of the middle and upper classes, studied and made their professional careers with success and stability, and now have lost their jobs, or the companies they have created were forced to close and many have even lost their homes, they are now facing a future of poverty, incertitude and of no hope. Those millions of new poor are a new challenge to us all, Knights, Dames, Squires and Damsels, and once again, tragically, they justify our existence, our mission and our social work. We can not, and will not abandon them.

As the Grand Master of our Sovereign Order and as the Head of our State I sincerely wish to you all a Merry Christmas and a happy and fruitful New Year. I wish that in your homes there will be Smiles, Love, good Health and Hope for the year to come, but I ask to every and each one of you not to forget those who have nothing but tears, sufferance, and a hopeless future, for they, too, are our brothers and sisters in this World, they need us, and they are the main reason of our existence, therefore may you all keep the spirit and the meaning of Christmas in your hearts every day during 2010 and may you all continue to be proud of being Knights and Dames of Saint John.

Your brother in St John

The Grand Master and Head of the State