First Aid Duty in the Vatican's Basilicas in Rome


Dr. Martinez, Dr. Haid, Sr. Thabethe, Dr. Uhl, Mrs. Kalkwarf, Fr. Gérard
at the First Aid Post on St. Peter's Square

This being the Holy Year 2000, the Vatican expected many thousands of pilgrims to flock to all the Basilicas in Rome. The authorities in the Vatican negotiated with the Order of Malta to provide the First Aid at some of their properties in Rome, where so many visitors would be. The Order of Malta agreed and planned to send four teams of Medical personnel to Rome for 54 weeks, in one-week stints. All the relief organisation of the Order of Malta were contacted and asked if they would be prepared to go to Rome to carry out this duty.


Dr. Haid, Dr. P. Martinez, Dr. R. Martinez, Fr. Gérard, Dr. Uhl, Mr. De Stefano, Sr. Thabethe, Mrs. Scarano, Mrs. Kalkwarf (sitting)
at the First Aid Post in the Lateran

The Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard agreed to help for two weeks and was asked to send two teams of four people. By request of the SMOM the ideal team would consist of one medical doctor, one nurse / paramedic, one first aider and one stretcher-bearer. The members of the Brotherhood were generous in offering their time and energy to this project. This was a wonderful opportunity for our members to have international experience and to meet with other Maltese relief organisations from different countries. While we were in Rome we met teams from Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain and Holland. There was quite a feeling of camaraderie, which built up through working together and sharing a house in Rome, which the SMOM had provided for us. The Vatican had arranged free access to all public transport in Rome, free access to the Vatican Museums and meal vouchers. We were on duty in St. Peter's Square and the Basilicas of St. John the Lateran, St. Maria Maggiore and St. Paul where the SMOM staffs permanent First Aid posts.


Dr. Zimmermann, Mrs. Scarano, Fr. Gérard,Mons. Fürstenberg, Mr. De Stefano, Sr. Thabethe, Mrs. Haid, Mrs. Kalkwarf, Dr. Haid, Dr. R. Martinez, Dr. P. Martinez
The picture shows Mons. Fürstenberg with our team at the Palazzo Grillo in Rome, after his solemn reception into the Brotherhood.

Monsignor Dr. Michael Fürstenberg is a novice of the Order of Malta. He is preparing in the Grand Magistry of the Order of Malta for his profession as a conventual chaplain and is in charge of the pastoral care for all the First Aid teams on duty in Rome. He was so impressed by our Brotherhood that he applied to join as a member. We are proud to count him among our members and we wholeheartedly welcome you, Mons. Fürstenberg, in our midst! May God bless you during your preparation to become a professed conventual chaplain of the Order of Malta!

I am sure many of our South African members and of course the Italian members will remember Riccardo and Rosa de Stefano who were in Mandeni for some time prior to returning to Italy. Riccardo & Rosa acted as interpreters for our team. Without them we would have been lost. While Riccardo and Rosa were with us in Rome, their two children Michele and Daniela stayed at home. But we were lucky enough to see them when our other member from Solofra, Italy, Lucia Citro and Antonio Ingino brought them to Rome.

Thank you to all our Italian members who continuously raise funds for us.


This page is part of the Newsletter No. 20 of the Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard




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This page was last updated on Tuesday, 15 January 2013 12:50:15