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Local philanthropist prepares for mission

TRULY GRAND: Mario Cortellucci was installed as Grand Prior of Canada by the Knights of Malta in Woodbridge last Thursday. Photo by Philip Alves/Vaughan Today

In a relatively new church in the heart of suburban Woodbridge, an ancient medieval tradition unfolded recently before a gathering of dames and cloaked knights.

Mario Cortellucci, a local entrepreneur and philanthropist, was installed as the Grand Prior of Canada by the Knights Hospitallers of the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta, a global charitable organization with military roots dating from the 11th century.

“It’s a big job for me to do,” Cortellucci said March 27 of his new responsibilities from the steps of the Church of the Immaculate Conception.

“We’re here for a mission. The mission is to help people in need: children, older people, young people — whoever needs us, we’ll be there.”

Prince Grand Master Nicholas Papanicolaou, the Order’s 76th, led the ceremony, while OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino and federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty delivered readings in the opening mass.

Vaughan Today
Online: April 9, 2008 [link]